THE ruling Zanu PF and opposition parties continue to reach out to each other, raising further hope that the necessary and much-talked about formal national dialogue involving all key stakeholders will finally take place soon, to help move the country forward.
This comes after opposition leader Douglas Mwonzora, as well as Jameson Timba — a close ally of Nelson Chamisa, pictured, — both recently reiterated that MDC bigwigs were ready to engage with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to help resolve Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic challenges.
It also comes as a large cross- section of Zimbabweans has said that the time is now opportune for Mnangagwa, Mwonzora and Chamisa to sit down together with others to lift the country.
Yesterday, Chamisa himself appeared to give momentum to the current and strong national unity sentiment, recognising the work that the government is doing to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
He told his supporters in a Facebook address that it was time for politicians and their followers to set aside their differences and help fight the killer disease that has taken the lives of more than 1 000 Zimbabweans to date, while also infecting tens of thousands others.
“It is time we work together to stop the spread of Covid-19. Unity is key in the face of this pandemic. All of us must put aside our political jackets, remove our political robes, political differences and work together in this fight.
“It is not the time to score cheap political points. In fact, that score board is not there … Let us forget this politicking and sloganeering because this Covid-19 knows no slogan.
“Together we will win, weather the storm … Let us not be divided by politicians,” Chamisa said in his virtual address.
“Our togetherness will define our collective future. We appreciate the various initiatives by different stakeholders and the government, the response of the ministry of Health in particular … is noted and appreciated.
“In this regard, we salute our warriors the nurses, doctors … We remain indebted to them and their families,” he added in his remarks that were notable for their departure from the politics of blame.
“We also honour our police, the military and prison and intelligence services as well, as all others who are providing essential services.
“We also thank our diaspora citizens for donations, assisting our hospitals. I am happy that it is not being politicised and there is no partisan agenda in their distribution,” Chamisa also said.
His address came a day after Mwonzora had also called for unity among Zimbabweans to fight the raging and virulent respiratory disease.
“This pandemic knows no political affiliation. The fight against Covid-19 should never be politicised, and we are all one in the fight against this pandemic.
“This is time for us as a people to come together and defeat this disease. Obviously, this is not the time to score cheap political scores,” Mwonzora said in his address to the nation on Wednesday.
The speeches have come as hopes that national dialogue may soon finally take place in the country to help resolve Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic crises have recently been raised further by Mwonzora and Timba.
Timba reiterated earlier this month that Chamisa was still happy to engage with Mnangagwa — adding significantly, that ED’s long claimed “legitimacy question” would not be “a pre-condition for dialogue”.
Speaking to the Daily News then, the even-tempered MDC Alliance secretary for presidential affairs also said that Chamisa had been among the first leaders to call for necessary national dialogue — adding, however, that he had been “ignored” by Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.
“Our position on the issue of legitimacy and dialogue has not changed. The legitimacy question is not a pre-condition for dialogue, but an agenda item for that dialogue.
“Chamisa was the first to call for dialogue, but was spurned by Zanu PF which said there was nothing to talk about,” he said, amid national hopes that the political climate in the country had never been more conducive for all-inclusive talks.
This week, Mwonzora also further lifted the spirits of long-suffering Zimbabweans when he said he would initiate much-needed national dialogue — which would include other opposition leaders and key interest groups.
“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.
“And, of course, on our first national standing committee (held last week) … we restated that we must have dialogue in this country, and that this dialogue must be centered 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.
“It is my hope that dialogue will be all-inclusive and that should Chamisa want to be part of it he is welcome. On our part as the MDC, we are going to talk to the MDC Alliance, or whatever they chose to call themselves.
“They are Zimbabweans and if they think they have anything to contribute they are welcome. But we will not impose anything on other political leaders.
“But again, we need to stress to them that the problems of this country will be solved when people sit down and talk. Of course we will also be talking to other political parties,” the new MDC president added.