Let’s have dialogue to avoid conflict
THERE is agitation from opposition parties and civil society for citizens to take to the streets on Friday to protest against the cancerous corruption scourge and the tanking economy.
Some opposition leaders have gone a notch up, arguing that the protests must culminate in President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government quitting power — a proposition the Zanu PF strongman and his hangers-on said they would not tolerate.
Worryingly, the protests have been planned at a time when cases of coronavirus in the country are spiralling out of control. The cases are approaching the 3 000 mark, including 34 deaths.
The timing appears wrong. The focus of the country should be on fighting the deadly pandemic, which health experts fear is ravaging the country. The experts believe we must redouble our efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of the killer disease by conducting more Covid-19 tests and tracing.
We agree absolutely that it is every Zimbabwean’s democratic right to protest against graft and the tanking economy and we share the citizens’ concern that there is urgent need for solutions to our flagging economy, but we differ on the suggested prescription.
Demonstrations will spur anarchy, and chaos has never been a solution to any ills in society. We believe strongly that as a nation we need to dialogue until we resolve our problems.
The country should take heed of advice from the church and other well-meaning local and international players that Mnangagwa and the opposition must smoke the peace pipe by congregating around a table, bury their differences and come up with solutions to move the country forward.
We believe strongly that Zimbabweans must come together to find solutions to our economic challenges. We need a shared vision and national interests and a dialogue in that direction is overdue.
It is common cause that our economy is plagued by the dearth of direct foreign investment, failure to access lines of credit for industry and commerce and a liquidity crunch as a result of many debilitating factors.
It is against this backcloth that as Zimbabweans we should be united in whatever we do. We need to work together to navigate the treacherous challenges pulling this beautiful nation backward. We are crying out loud for social and economic development.
Calls for dialogue by churches, Sadc and the African Union are welcome, and more energy must be directed towards achieving that. There would be no problem if the country is to forge another government of national unity to stop the current rot in Zimbabwe.