SENIOR STAFF WRITER
OPPOSITION leader Douglas Mwonzora will tomorrow name the MDC team that will lead the party’s planned national dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other key stakeholders in the country.
In addition, the MDC’s standing committee will also consider the framework on the mooted talks tomorrow, which was recently presented to political parties and other stakeholders by churches.
This comes amid renewed efforts by various stakeholders to have Mnangagwa, Mwonzora and Nelson Chamisa engage each other — as strife weary Zimbabweans increasingly accept that inclusive national dialogue is the best route out of the country’s decades-long myriad crises.
MDC spokesperson, Witness Dube, told the Daily News yesterday that the party was also keen to confer with other opposition parties ahead of the planned national talks, so that they could agree a common position before the inclusive dialogue kicks off.
“In our pursuit for national dialogue as the MDC … we will put concerted efforts in reaching out to fellow opposition political parties.
“We believe in an all-inclusive and open dialogue that will draw legitimacy from its general acceptance by all sectors of our nation.
“We are going to have a delegation from our end. This Wednesday (tomorrow), the president (Mwonzora) will name people from the party who are going to lead the dialogue,” Dube told the Daily News.
“While the team which will pursue national dialogue is going to be one, they are going to divide themselves into sub-committees … with some of them pursuing dialogue with other opposition parties.
“All this will be finalised at Wednesday’s standing committee meeting. And since there are many opposition parties in Zimbabwe, the MDC … will adopt an approach which will achieve a consensus with them on what should be the key agenda of dialogue.
“Besides that, we want to give equal importance to all stakeholders, be they political or non-political players,” Dube further told the Daily News.
The latest push by the MDC comes amid the accelerating momentum towards national talks, with churches among those playing a prominent role in efforts to make the inclusive dialogue possible.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) reiterated its desire for the cessation of hostilities and tensions in the country.
“We are not talking about deal-making dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa or political players, but all-inclusive talks to hear from the people how Zimbabweans can co-exist for the sake of national dialogue.
“This can be done in the same way as the country held discussions around the constitution-making process under the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac),” the ZHOCD’s executive secretary, Kenneth Mtata, told the Daily News.
The ZHOCD call came after the clerics had also confirmed to the Daily News that churches had now dispatched the dialogue proposals to all relevant stakeholders, as they continued with their push for national talks.
“The proposal is being shared with the diplomatic community, the business sector and civil society for their consideration because this is a conversation that the whole nation must have consideration regarding how we find consensus and lasting solutions to the challenges we are facing,” Mtata told the Daily News.
The ZHOCD is made up of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Union of the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe — which are believed to represent about 80 percent of the country’s Christians.
Yesterday, the MDC reiterated that it would discuss and consider the proposals from the ZHOCD, as part of its agenda to kick-start talks with Zanu PF and other opposition parties.
“As a party, we have an exhaustive plan to make sure that every stakeholder is brought on board. The standing committee … is going to meet and also table the report from the churches.
“If the report is adopted, it will inform our position going forward, regarding how we expedite the issue of national dialogue,” Dube further told the Daily News.
This comes as Mwonzora has been promoting politics of love and inclusiveness ever since he became the new MDC boss last December.
Speaking to the Daily News after assuming the MDC reins, he reiterated that the dialogue that he had in mind would involve all key stakeholders — including political parties, the church, labour, business and civil society.
“The resolution or the strategy of the MDC to engage in dialogue is as old as the formation of the MDC itself. It was taken in earnest after 2008, when we had a resolution as a party to engage in dialogue, which brought about the government of national unity (GNU).
“After the 2013 elections, we again made a resolution of the standing committee, in a town called Magaliesburg in South Africa — during one of our strategic retreats with our late great leader Morgan Tsvangirai — that we were going to make dialogue the mainstay of our political strategy.
“This was aimed at making the life of Zimbabweans better. In 2020, our national council also talked about the need to have dialogue in this country,” Mwonzora told the Daily News last month.
“And, of course, on our first national standing committee … we restated that we must have dialogue, and that this dialogue must be centred on those aspects that improve the lives of the Zimbabwean people.
“The standing committee then also said we must make sure that dialogue is initiated in this country. Of course, we have not received anything from the government but that does not stop us from initiating dialogue.
“In our view, this dialogue must be broad-based, inclusive, genuine and unconditional, and we are going to be initiating that dialogue with the government,” Mwonzora further told the Daily News.
“We are also going to be dialoguing with other political parties within the opposition, those who see things the way we see them.
“We will also reach out to civil society as well as the churches. We will also reach out to labour and business.
“The reason for dialogue is because we want to engage in a new type of politics. Gone are the days of the politics of hate, the politics of acrimony, the politics of rancour. We want to bring about politics of rational disputation,” Mwonzora added.