AS THE push for Zimbabwe’s much-needed national dialogue continues to gather steam, the opposition said yesterday that it was important for Sadc and the African Union to help midwife the mooted talks.
Speaking to the Daily News, both the main opposition MDC and the MDC Alliance also re-affirmed their unequivocal commitment to genuine and inclusive national talks, in the interest of the country and its long-suffering citizens.
This comes as the church has also stepped up its efforts to unite Zimbabwe – culminating in it recently presenting the country’s major political players and other key stakeholders with a draft national talks framework.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson, Clifford Hlatywayo, said it was already engaging Sadc and other African countries, to help with the push for all-inclusive dialogue aimed at ending the country’s decades-long political and economic crises.
“Dialogue must be guaranteed by the international community, especially Sadc and the African Union.
“The expectations of the people of Zimbabwe are to have a genuine dialogue and as such we must have an independent convenor, facilitator and venue,” he said.
MDC chairman, Morgen Komichi, also told the Daily News that they intended to approach the regional bloc to mediate the much talked about dialogue.
“Sadc is important. It must help Zimbabwe to have dialogue. Thus, the talks must be underwritten by Sadc. We want an African solution to our problems. So, Sadc is key in solving Zimbabwe’s situation.
“We will soon approach Sadc to help mediate and guarantee the outcome of the planned negotiations,” he said.
“We must all work to do away with toxic politics in the country … As Zimbabweans we must be united and be able to solve our problems.
“Zanu-PF is also important if we want to have successful talks. Indeed, we need to involve all political players.
“We must put aside our differences because people are suffering … We want to see this dialogue starting as soon as possible. We need to have unity before the 2023 elections,” Komichi further told the Daily News.
Since the country’s new opposition leader Douglas Mwonzora assumed the presidency of the MDC, he has been pushing hard for dialogue – preaching the politics of love and forgiveness, which has endeared him to a large cross section of strife-weary Zimbabweans.
He has particularly urged the country’s political leaders to work in the interest of all Zimbabweans and emulate the spirit of magnanimity that was a hallmark of the late founding father of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Speaking on the third anniversary of Tsvangirai’s death on Valentine’s Day, Mwonzora said the much-loved former prime minister in the stability-inducing 2009 government of national unity (GNU) would have embraced dialogue again, to help end Zimbabwe’s decades-long myriad challenges.
“We need to unite as Zimbabwe and learn to resolve our differences without violence. We must prepare the future of our children because people don’t eat politics.
“Quarrels are not working. Let us follow what Tsvangirai did. He went to the negotiating table to solve the country’s crisis, and as the MDC we are going for dialogue with other political parties.
“The benefits that Zimbabweans received as a result of Tsvangirai’s strategic choice are now a matter of historic record,” Mwonzora said.
“During the GNU, the social, political and economic life of every Zimbabwean changed for the better. Our people were able to access and afford the basic necessities of life.
“Schools and hospitals got better resourced than before. The international community poured millions into Zimbabwe in support.
“Our country experienced relative peace and we were able to craft a new people-driven constitution … It is this virtue of putting people and country above self that we should emulate,” Mwonzora added.
This also comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently praised the MDC for its change of attitude towards the government – in the latest remarks by the country’s leaders suggesting a welcome and progressive mellowing of national politics.
It also comes as the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) has shared with Zanu-PF, the MDC and the MDC Alliance its draft proposal for national talks.
The ZHOCD is made up of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Union of the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe – these bodies are believed to represent about 80 percent of the country’s Christians.
In the meantime, political analysts such as renowned professor of World Politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (OAS), Stephen Chan, have said dialogue is the best way to end Zimbabwe’s challenges.
“The situation in Zimbabwe is dire, so that posturing is simply futile. I think everyone is slowly coming to the realisation that dialogue is unavoidable.
“Certainly, the view in the international community is that talks that are unconditional – on all sides – open and transparent, should take place.
“Inclusive means inclusive. The MDC has split. It cannot at this moment be repaired. Both factions need to have a place at the talks,” the respected Chan told the Daily News.
“No power to help Zimbabwe exists on any side, except through careful and detailed expert planning that is also negotiable with the donor community and lending agencies of the outside world.
“The economy is front, back and centre of all of Zimbabwe’s problems. Closely linked to that is, of course, the dire problem of corruption.
“And I have often suggested the Kariba Houseboat model. The principal players should simply go off to Kariba, take a houseboat out into the lake and stay there for an entire weekend once every month – finding, via informal means, common ground.
“No one should take credit for any successful plans. There should just be agreement on how best to go forward,” Chan further told the Daily News. – Daily News 🔺