‘Zimbabwe needs soft landing’

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WITH Zimbabwe on the edge of a cliff amid economic and political turmoil that is threatening an imminent implosion, political players and churches have said that there is need to put in place a mechanism to soft-land the country.

Speaking during an online Sapes Trust-organised discussion titled Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis: What we have to do now, which included diplomats, politicians and political analysts, churches and politicians called for all-inclusive political dialogue to avert a catastrophic ending.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) general secretary Kenneth Mtata said there was need for a transitional mechanism to be put in place.

“We need an arrangement, where we are going to provide a temporary transitional mechanism, whichever name we call it, others have called it the National Transitional Authority, whatever structures people may come up with, what we need is a sabbatical period, where the nation is going to reboot and reset itself,” Mtata said.

He said the country needed to deal with past challenges such as the Gukurahundi, which saw the killing of at least 20 000 civilians, mainly in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces of the country as well as other cases of violence.

“We need to implement the Constitution, we need to establish a social contract that is based on an inclusive economy and get rid of this corruption and the cartel economy that is dominating the economy now, we must establish a new international reengagement mechanism in which all citizens are participating, we need to establish an inclusive humanitarian intervention mechanism so that we feed our people who are currently hungry, recover the health and education systems and all the social services. We believe that this moment of social transition would allow for the nation to restore itself,” he said.

The sentiments come at a time when the country is facing serious economic challenges. Zimbabwe is battling to control runaway inflation as well as a degenerating human rights record.

There have been previous calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to sit down and talk with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa in order to bring the country out of the current economic doldrums.

However, the two leaders have been failing to find common ground on the issue, leaving many Zimbabweans at the mercy of the debilitating economic situation.

Speaking at the same online event, businessman Shingi Munyeza said the country was in a serious crisis which needed a soft landing.

“We have a crisis, we are facing a storm, we are facing what I term a ‘State failure’, which was a progression from State capture to State abuse and now we are going into State failure, where the State cannot provide, cannot protect and also cannot lead or lead us into prosperity, where we do what we need to do so that the country can be vibrant and we are a prosperous nation.

“With that we have a few things that are beginning to take place, we have Covid-19, we have food insecurity, we have a dearth of leadership, we have economic collapse, we have collapse in service delivery. We have all these that I will term ‘a perfect storm’. In a few weeks, not even months, the nation is going to grapple with this. What we need to do, first and foremost, the nation needs a soft-landing, we are going to hit a brick wall very badly.

“Our coronavirus infections are going up by the day, food insecurity, people are starving, so we need a soft landing, where we need to apply some brakes to this crash that we are going to have. We are going to crash, it’s going to be painful, as it can be seen, the currency is no longer existing.

“So once that soft landing is given, we basically need a transitional period, where we need to deal with our underlining foundational values and governance processes, which must first of all deal with issue of healing, truth and reconciliation,” Munyeza said.

The call for a national dialogue comes at a time the opposition is at its weakest following unending squabbles, which have spilled into the courts.

MDC Alliance leader, Chamisa is battling to control the party after his rival Thokozani Khupe has maintained an octopal grip on the party, with the backing of a court order, which made her the interim leader.

MDC Alliance secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo, who was also part of Sapes’ discussion, said there was need to build a national consensus on the country’s way forward.

“We also need national dialogue that is reliable, that is bankable, that is legitimate and also guaranteed by the international community with specific deliverables and timeframes and also facilitated by a mutually agreed facilitator,” Hlatywayo said.

A number of Zimbabweans have warned of an imminent implosion if the government fails to deal with the current economic situation.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti recently said that the rising repression and the collapsing economy were fast driving Zimbabwe towards the precipice.

He said an implosion could mean another military coup, people going into the streets and being shot but emphasised on the need for a political solution and a national transitional authority.

“We urgently need a political solution in this country because if we do not do that, as (Finance minister) Mthuli Ncube admits in his letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there is going to be an implosion,” Biti said.


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