Senate to leaders: Unify Zim citizens … as political tension, economic pain remain high in country

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Blessings Mashaya

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

mashayab@dailynews.co.zw

SENATORS have joined other prominent voices in calling for Zimbabweans to unite and work together — to foster much-needed peace and development in the country, the Daily News reports.

This comes as political tension has remained high in the country, amid persisting economic challenges that have left the majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens barely able to keep their heads above water.

It also comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said he was prepared to engage the opposition, but only within the confines of the Political Actors Dialogue — a platform which brings together candidates of the 2018 presidential elections.

Debating the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission’s annual report which was tabled in the Senate by Vice President Kembo Mohadi last week, the senators said national unity was key to the development of the country.

“We must work for one common purpose and refrain from fighting other people and organisations. If we fight and kill each other, we cannot achieve anything, but death only.

“We must not follow bad things that happened in the past. We must be united and work for our country… and forgive each other. We must work together, be relatives and protect our country.

“Some of the liberation fighters wanted to see a free country, but they could not. We must be united like what the vice president (Mohadi) said. If we are united, our country moves forward very well,” Zanu PF senator Otilia Maluleke said.

Another ruling party senator, Address Matiirira, said unity was key to development — and hence political leaders needed to reconcile and unite.

“Mr President, this is a very important motion. As Zimbabwe, if there is no unity, forgiveness and peace in the country, there will be no development. So, we want to thank him (Mohadi) for that.

“As a country, we are faced with Covid-19. But because of peace, unity and forgiveness, we managed to control this pandemic.

“Mr President, peace and reconciliation are important. People hate and wrong each other, but forgiveness is what is required for people to be united,” Matiirira said.

MDC senator Morgan Femai also said it was high time Zimbabweans came together.

“We need to bury the hatchet and work together … We also need to accept the fact that we also did wrong and we need to forgive and be united.

“Those in Harare should also unite with everyone right up to Chipinge. No one should engage in such activities that have resulted in dialogue for peace and reconciliation that the president had to attend to,” Femai said.

Another MDC senator Christine Rambanepasi also emphasised the need for national unity.

This comes as there is a renewed national push to nudge Mnangagwa to engage the opposition and other key stakeholders for the sake of the country.

It also comes as both Zanu PF and the main opposition MDC are riven with sharp divisions — with the party founded by the late Morgan Tsvangirai now virtually on its knees, while Zanu PF’s ructions are fast-approaching the levels that almost disembowelled it in the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted from power by a stunning and popular military coup in November 2017.

At the same time, one of the founders of Zanu PF and former Cabinet minister, Rugare Gumbo, recently reiterated that it was in the best interest of Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa and the ruling party for unity to prevail in the country.

Speaking to the Daily News, Gumbo — a liberation struggle stalwart who was controversially fired from the ruling party in the run-up to Zanu PF’s sham 2014 congress at the height of the party’s tribal, factional and succession wars — also implored Mnangagwa to unite Zanu PF if it was to survive much longer.

“The situation on the ground doesn’t seem to allow the continuation of the crises because people are now tired of all this.

“There must be a change in the attitude of those who are in power. They must unite the people, as any failure to do that will mean that they will be digging their own political graves,” he said.

“He (Mnangagwa) must absolutely make sure that he unites Zimbabweans as he is the president. He has the power to sit down with all Zimbabweans.

“He must be able to contact his rivals and talk with them so that they can solve the current problems,” Gumbo added.

“I was watching vaMuzenda’s (the late former Vice President Simon Muzenda’s) video, where he was encouraging unity among Zimbabweans.

“Without unity, the future of Zimbabwe is bleak. It is going to be problematic for the ruling party to go into 2023 without uniting Zimbabweans.

“They are digging their own grave if they fail to talk to all political parties and unite all people to solve the country’s current crises,” Gumbo told the Daily News further.

“He (Mnangagwa) must seriously rethink the future of the country and … the young generation. He must not think about himself and power, but the young generation that we have.

“What are they going to inherit? Are they going to inherit the violence and divided country? These are the kind of things the president must think about.

“If you think of power only without thinking about the life of the ordinary person you have a problem.

“The ruling party must shape up or ship out. Mnangagwa must be man enough and accept the challenges facing the country,” Gumbo also warned.

“If there is no unity, there will always be external and internal threats. You don’t need that. You need … to unite even with people who oppose your views so that you can bring stability to the country.

“The ruling party must know that one doesn’t know what lies in the future. Change does occur and for anybody to think that he will remain in power for ever is not good.

“In Shona they say chinobhururuka chinomhara. Hakuna chisingaperi (everything ends) and we say let’s not do that.

“Everyone is a Zimbabwean. There is no Zimbabwe for Zanu PF or MDC … Zimbabwe is for everybody,” Gumbo further told the Daily News.

This comes after members of the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) met Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in separate engagements recently, in a bid to nudge both men to hold much-needed national dialogue.

It also comes as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ruling African National Congress (ANC) have been attempting to assist Zimbabwe to end its decades-long political and economic crises.

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