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Zimbabweans back idea of another GNU

by Staff reporter
05 Nov 2020 at 19:25hrs | Views
MANY Zimbabweans have welcomed the push by the MDC to hold talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, with a view to forming a new government of national unity in a bid to end the country's myriad challenges.

Among those who have hailed the move are ordinary citizens and analysts, who told the Daily News yesterday that a GNU would help to unite Zimbabweans and end the worsening divisions among citizens of various political persuasions.

This comes as the interim MDC leadership led by Thokozani Khupe has announced plans to hold talks with Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF over another inclusive government - similar to the short-lived but stability-inducing arrangement of 2009 which came about after the hotly-disputed 2008 elections.

Long-suffering Zimbabweans who have fond memories of that unity government, and who are reeling from the country's current economic crisis, yesterday urged both Mnangagwa and Khupe to seriously consider another GNU - to help improve people's lives.

"People are suffering. They experienced the advantages of the GNU in 2009 and so they want the same arrangement.

"They just want the economy to stabilise so that the country will move forward. During the GNU, people benefited a lot," Amos Mushayi, from Harare's Waterfalls suburb, said.

Tawanda Chetsanga also said there was a need for both Zanu-PF and the divided opposition to put their differences aside and form another GNU.

"I was in the diaspora for 12 years. When I came back recently, I saw things are still the same. People are struggling.

"A GNU is not bad for Zimbabwe. We want the economy to stabilise. The situation is getting worse and I am once again considering going back to the diaspora," he said.

On his part, Paul Chirisa said he had no doubt that another GNU would be the panacea for the myriad challenges that the country was experiencing.

"I think all stakeholders need to come together. A GNU is the way forward. But first of all we must know what is key.

"Who is talking to whom because in this country there are two main political parties and I think it's important for the two to come together and form another GNU," he said.

Melody Chikara said Zanu-PF needed help from opposition parties and other stakeholders, because it had "failed to run the country" alone.

"The ruling party is trying and so far they are failing to solve the economic crisis. Unity is key for the country to move forward.

"I think if Zimbabweans were to vote, more than 90 percent will vote in favour of a GNU because we have experienced it before," Chikara told the Daily News.

Political analysts also said the country was now in a dire situation which needed Zanu-PF and the opposition to work together to end the deep polarisation among Zimbabweans.

Respected University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, said the situation was now so desperate that many ordinary people viewed another GNU as the best way out of the worsening local crises.

"That is the general consensus across the nation and several people are calling for a GNU. It may be out of desperation, but people do not have any other option.

"They are fortified in the knowledge that a GNU worked in the past … and it can also work this time around because we are facing a similar situation that we faced in 2008.

"The MDC is riding on public sentiment and it's correct that they know that riding against the wind is not good for them.

"The GNU worked before and it can work again. It's a position taken by the majority and the opposition is just taking advantage of that," Masunungure told the Daily News.

Namibia-based political analyst, Admire Mare, also said there was a need for political parties to unite and to consider forming a GNU.

"There is no denying that an inclusive government is the best bet for Zimbabwe. No single party can run a polarised country like Zimbabwe successfully and achieve service delivery.

"Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance need each other for the good of the country. These kinds of winner-takes-all-politics are inimical to socio-economic growth.

"It breeds animosity, polarity and 'kukanda jecha musadza' syndrome," Mare said.

This comes as the MDC has confirmed that it is keen for talks with Zanu-PF, as part of efforts to try and resolve the country's decades-long political and economic crises.

"We want talks that will culminate in a mechanism that will alleviate the people's suffering like we did in 2008 when the level of suffering had become unbearable.

"We negotiated and came up with a GNU. So, the same is necessary now. Whatever name you give to the platform - GNU, National Transitional Authority or anything else - must be an outcome of a negotiation.

"What is key is that, as a party our ambition is not to take over the State presidency, but to make sure that we work towards the improvement of our people's lives," acting MDC chairperson Morgen Komichi told the Daily News earlier this week.

"People are suffering. There are no jobs, incomes are very low and we cannot continue like this," he added.

On his part, interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora hinted that the MDC had already put in motion plans to hold talks with Zanu-PF, with regards to the mooted GNU.

"As the MDC, ever since we were formed (in 1999), we have always been for dialogue. We think that Zimbabwe's problems can be resolved through dialogue.

"The problems of this country cannot be resolved through confrontation, acrimony, rancour and violence.

"So, yes, when the time comes, when the internal process is done and when our consultations are completed, you will see us calling for dialogue," Mwonzora told the Daily News.

"There is enough historical evidence in this country to show that most of the problems and big issues are resolved through dialogue.

"The liberation war ended with dialogue. The Gukurahundi in Matabeleland ended when Zapu and Zanu sealed that Unity Accord.

"In 2008, after Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai, we engaged in dialogue to resolve that national question.

"We will always be for dialogue, but internal process will have to be done first," Mwonzora further told the Daily News.

Last month, Khupe also appeared to give a hint about the mooted talks when she said she was ready to engage in dialogue with Mnangagwa "to improve the livelihoods of 14,6 million Zimbabweans".

"If those who think that dialoguing with the president is selling-out, I say I am going to be dialoguing for a better life, then let me be a sell-out. But I will deliver a better life to everyone at the end of the day.

"Dialogue energises people to work together and that is the reason why after every election we must expeditiously get out of the election mode and move forward towards the development agenda.

"As the leader of the opposition, I am going to be dialoguing with the president for a better life for everyone," Khupe said after she was sworn in in Parliament.

The former deputy prime minister in the 2009 GNU also said the role of opposition parties was not to be unnecessarily adversarial, but to hold the government to account for its actions, as well as providing solutions.

In 2009, the late former president Robert Mugabe was forced into a GNU with the MDC's late and much-loved founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai, after the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.

The short-lived GNU was credited with stabilising the country's economy, which had imploded in the run-up to those elections.

In those polls, Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down. However, the results were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities - amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later revealed by former bigwigs of the ruling Zanu-PF.

In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu-PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai's supporters were killed - forcing the former prime minister to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.

Mugabe went on to stand in an embarrassing and widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.

Source - dailynews