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Zimbabwe warms up to national dialogue

by Staff reporter
03 Sep 2020 at 18:39hrs | Views
MANY Zimbabweans are warming up to the recent calls for national dialogue and an internal resolution of the country's decades-long political and economic crises, while also imploring President Emmerson Mnangagwa to move with speed to hold the much-needed talks with all key stakeholders.

Among the groups which spoke to the Daily News yesterday which are amenable to the local resolution of the country's well-documented challenges are opposition parties - although they added that it would be wrong for the ruling Zanu-PF to spurn assistance by well-meaning outsiders.

This comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed special envoys - former South Africa vice president Baleka Mbete and ex-ministers Sydney Mufamadi and Ngoako Ramatlhodi - to try and end Zimbabwe's myriad crises. It also comes as the government has warned that it is futile for Zimbabweans to hope and expect that foreigners possess a magic wand that will miraculously resolve the country's difficulties.

"Ultimately, the only peaceful and lasting solution is a genuine, honest and bona fide dialogue among Zimbabweans in which players agree on issues and whether we have the capacity to resolve the problems we face.

"Unfortunately at this stage, we have some people (in Zanu-PF) who do not agree because they think by virtue of having participated in the liberation struggle they have exclusive rights to determine the country's destiny.

"They fail to realise that the road they are choosing is a well-trodden road and that they will go nowhere," unflappable MDC Alliance vice president, Welshman Ncube, told the Daily News.

"We, therefore, need someone who facilitates dialogue. But it cannot be passive facilitation. Facilitation and mediation are not mutually exclusive. They complement each other.

"I suggest that South Africa, wearing the hat of the African Union chair and as a Sadc member, can do both under the auspices of the regional framework - because if it acts bilaterally it might not have sufficient influence," he said further.

Outspoken cleric, Ancelimo Magaya, said Zimbabweans needed to come up with home-grown solutions to the current crises - under a platform which would include civic society, the Church and other stakeholders in order to capture all critical views.

"There is a need for us to work together and find each other as Zimbabweans. We can find each other if we accept the challenges that we are facing as a country.

"We must remove the sense of entitlement. There is a need for truth telling, justice and forgiveness. The Church welcomes any mediation ... but the crux of the matter is that such mediation should meet the standards of a true and genuine mediation.

"Any mediation that meets one side or one party to the crisis runs the risk of losing credibility," Magaya told the Daily News.

The general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), Blessings Makwara, said it was incumbent upon Zimbabweans to set aside their differences and resolve the country's deepening crises.

"I do believe that locals have knowledge of possible solutions to their problems as demonstrated by the various calls and expressions of interest in having broader transformative engagements, especially around public policy and addressing national interests.

"This, however, does not mean the total exclusion of necessary support from the region - given that we are members of Sadc and the AU.

"Such support should not be imposed, but should come to complement local efforts," Makwara said.

"We have become very much inter-connected as countries, hence it is in the interest of the whole community around Zimbabwe to see it back on the prosperity track," he added.

Civil society leader and convenor of the Citizens Manifesto, Briggs Bomba, said it was important that Zimbabweans came up with workable solutions to end the country's long-running crises.

"Given the current acute level of polarisation, dialogue can only happen with international assistance and scaffolding. "South Africa, as a sister country in Sadc, but also the current chair of the African Union, does have a reason and mandate to help us find common ground.

"SA's efforts can only be successful if it can galvanise the Sadc region and indeed the AU to recognise the crisis in Zimbabwe and collectively press for a comprehensive national settlement," Bomba said.

This comes as there are growing calls for Mnangagwa to hold dialogue with key stakeholders to end Zimbabwe's deepening problems, which have stirred anger and restlessness among long-suffering ordinary citizens.

Both Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa have previously said that they were interested in dialogue, although nothing concrete has happened - primarily because of differences over the form and platform on which the talks should take place.

On his part, Mnangagwa has been consistent that any talks with Chamisa should be held under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) - where he regularly holds meetings with fringe opposition leaders.

Chamisa himself has ruled out joining Polad - demanding instead direct dialogue with Mnangagwa. This week, the government said it was futile for Zimbabweans to believe that a messiah from outside the country would come and end the myriad challenges facing the nation.

Speaking to the Daily News on Tuesday, Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba said it was disconcerting to see that some Zimbabweans expected the country's problems to be resolved by outsiders.

"Zimbabweans must stop thinking that there is a messiah who is going to come from across the Limpopo or across the seas or from Mars to conquer the country's problems. "There is no messiah who is going to come from anywhere. It is only us who can solve our problems through national structures that have been put in place to facilitate such activities.

"South Africa is reacting as a friend and neighbour and not as the chair of the African Union (AU). In terms of diplomacy, there is what we call the principle of subsidiarity," Charamba told the Daily News.

"This means that any emerging issues must be resolved at a regional level, that is Sadc, before being escalated to the AU (African Union) - otherwise what would be the role of sub-regional bodies?

"We all know where the chair of Sadc is. It is in Botswana. So, let it be known that Ramaphosa's response is coming from a brother, an ally and neighbour not the chair of the AU," he said further. "The special envoys will come, fact-find and leave to give their analysis to Ramaphosa. But what must remain clear is that the solution to the country's problems will only come from Zimbabweans.

"There is this notion that the coming of South African envoys will dismantle and illegitimatise existing national communication structures such as Polad.

"That line of thinking is misguided and has been adopted by individuals who have put their faith in foreigners for assistance.

"Self-respecting Zimbabweans must know that we have national institutions for engaging each other," he added.

Source - dailynews