© THE Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) is worried that the country’s worsening political and economic rot may trigger deadly instability this year — unless President Emmerson Mnangagwa seriously engages the opposition to forestall the looming national chaos, the Daily News reports.
This comes as there is a growing realisation by both Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa that an all-encompassing national dialogue is important to help extricate the country from its deepening myriad crises.
Similarly, Zimbabwe’s regional peers are also determined to get Mnangagwa and Chamisa to talk in the country’s interest — hence their recent decision to task former South African President Thabo Mbeki to help broker this much-needed dialogue between the two men and others.
Forthright ZCC secretary-general, Kenneth Mtata, warned yesterday that Zimbabwe could be on the brink of an uprising unless a truly national dialogue was held to stop the country from plunging into total chaos.
“Let this be a warning as we begin a new year that a nation that does not satisfactorily act on the cries of the vulnerable creates inevitable conditions for a revolution.
“Once its fires have been lit, no amount of ammunition can stop it,” Mtata had first said on Twitter.
He later told the Daily News that the desired national dialogue should involve the State and all the other key political actors, to find a sustainable solution to the country’s escalating problems.
“There are three proffered solution models that can be thought of to help solve the challenges we are experiencing as a nation.
“The first is the maintenance model, which is about maintaining the current status quo until 2023.
“Then there is the revolution model which is about forcing a replacement of the current government with new leadership — and finally the consensus model, which is about mutual dialogue,” Mtata said.
The prominent cleric said he feared that Zimbabweans were now tilting towards the revolution model, which they believed would remove the root causes of the country’s problems. However, he added, the Church still maintained that dialogue provided the best way to resolve the country’s economic crisis.
“I must admit that while people may want to remove the root causes of the problems we have in Zimbabwe, I am convinced that it is only a consensus model that can do that in a sustainable and less costly way.
“Those who preside over a revolution tend to be the most courageous, but not necessarily the most intelligent — and they then become the new oppressors.
“So while at face value a revolution promises a permanent solution, in reality it can give you what you didn’t bargain for,” Mtata said.
“Consensus is reached through dialogue, and hence requires an initial deposit of humility from the parties involved and demands an exchange of ideas, trust and confidence,” he said further.
This comes as Mnangagwa and Chamisa have come under intense pressure all round to set aside their political differences and hold talks — as this is seen as the only sure way of extricating the country from the worsening local rot.Interestingly, both rivals have previously and separately said they were willing to engage in dialogue to end the growing crisis.
While Mnangagwa and Chamisa are increasingly talking about the mooted dialogue in public — they continue to disagree on which route to take on the matter, with the 77-year-old Zanu PF leader remaining resolute that any such talks will happen under the auspices of the much-criticised political actors dialogue (Polad).
Mbeki — who helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mnangagwa’ s predecessor Robert Mugabe, who are both late — was in the country last month to persuade the Zanu PF leader and Chamisa to end their feuding.And only last week, the ZCC said that it would spearhead.
“Zimbabwe at 40” campaign — which aims to address the humanitarian crises of food shortages and the poor conditions at hospitals, as well as helping families to send children back to school later this month.
“Zimbabwe has now travelled a 40-year journey since its independence from colonial rule. Those 40 years have had some pleasant things … the land reform programme, even if it could have been done in a more equitable and transparent way … establishment of a home grown Constitution in 2013, although its full implementation is still outstanding … the discovery of many minerals, although their utilisation has not fully benefited the whole nation and the lack of transparency in the mining area remains a challenge,” it said in a New Year’s message.
“It will also address the long-term agenda towards national unity, the deepening of constitutional democracy and moving towards a national social contract based on an inclusive national economic vision in a dialogical process,” the ZCC added.
At the weekend Chamisa said he was hoping to meet Mnangagwa soon — to deal with the two men’s political feud and the country’s myriad crises.
Speaking at the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) congress in Harare, Chamisa revealed that he had attended the gathering in the hope of meeting Mnangagwa there — who had also been invited to the event.
“When I came here I was expecting that I would have my equivalent from Zanu PF here. I was expecting to meet my partner, my brother ED.
“I asked the organisers if ED was invited and they said yes, and I said if he is invited I am coming because I would like to meet him. And so I delayed … expecting him to come, but he didn’t. Hopefully I will meet him soon.
“I have said to … Mnangagwa please let us come together. People of Zimbabwe voted in the disputed elections and the results reflected in broad daylight, so let us dialogue by dint of what people demonstrated when they voted,” the MDC boss told the gathered teachers.
“He (ED) said ‘no, we will never meet’ … but there are issues that we have to address with Mnangagwa, myself and him.
“We cannot go to Polad because it is a choir against reason, logic … the future of this country. So, why should I join that chorus.
“Yes to dialogue, but let us have dialogue that is meaningful because the moment I have dialogue, the whole nation is expecting Chamisa and Mnangagwa to come up with a solution,” Chamisa added.
“If the solution doesn’t come, the danger is going to be our credibility and your confidence in our ability as leaders.
“I have said I want genuine dialogue … I don’t want dialogue where you will see Chamisa having been given a car and trinkets of the office away from your issues. That is not our objective. Our objective is to resolve fundamental national issues,” he said further.