By William Milasi
A former aide to Zimbabwe former premier the late Morgan Tsvangirai has said ongoing efforts for a national summit to end the country’s deepening crises are being derailed by the country’s two main political protagonists the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF.
Maxwell Shumba leader of Zim First elaborated that the national dialogue has been premised on a wrong footing by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is excluding critical voices.
Shumba said on the other hand, MDC Alliance Leader Nelson Chamisa, is approaching the issue of the national discourse with immaturity.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited all the 23 political party leaders who contested in last year’s plebiscite for a national dialogue framework at State House.
Chamisa and former Vice President Joice Mujuru who is now leading the National People’s Party (NPP) snubbed the State House national summit.
The youthful MDC leader said he was only going to meet with his nemesis only after Mnangagwa had met certain conditions chief amongst them being the release of his party members and recall of the army from the streets.
The American based Shumba was disqualified from participating in last year’s polls.
“National dialogue is important but it should be driven by selfless interests. I don’t see that currently between MDC Alliance and Zanu PF. National dialogue should be inclusive and not confirmed to these two political parties. In my view both parties are the source of our problems.
“The nation need mature leadership that understands to align ambition and reality. I put my weight towards efforts that brings all stakeholders to the table to talk. Aloofness breeds perennial dysfunction,” Shumba said.
He rapped the MDC leader for, “being driven by selfish ends,” and lacking, “Mature leadership,” which knows that, “winning can be done at the battle front, ballot box or table.”
Shumba predicted a stillbirth in the envisaged dialogue as he claimed that it is non inclusive before calling on Mnangagwa to come up with a proper framework for a national dialogue.
“In the meantime it has not been inclusive and it is being mismanaged. Principals’ should be the last to meet after a non partisan working group has been established to bring together to the table all stakeholders.
“The country is facing a crisis that President Mnangagwa has failed to solve so he along with other stakeholders should have representatives who should initially meet on a national dialogue platform that will then pave way to a resolution of the crises with the principals playing the final role of signatories,” he said.
Shumba said the current efforts for a national discourse might end up being a mere talk show.
“If Mnangagwa does not expand to include all stakeholders it will not be a national dialogue but a series of political meetings whose results will only be relevant to the people participating in those meetings,” he said.
Another opposition leader who was excluded from the ongoing national dialogue also predicted a still birth if Mnangagwa fails to come up with a proper framework.
Speaking from hid United Kingdom base Maat Zimbabwe Leader Neferkare Nembaware said the dialogue has started on a wrong footing.
“The dialogue started on a wrong footing. It wasn’t for all political parties that took part in the July elections as we called for but only presidential candidates that contested. Mnangagwa must use a different approach otherwise the talks will suffer a stillbirth,” he said.
Nembaware said the process must presently exclude non political actors.
“It’s a political process first and foremost. Civic society or churches mustn’t be seen dabbling in politics they must remain neutral,” he said.
Coalition for Democrats (CODE) national chairperson Trust Chikohora said the national dialogue has been long overdue.
Chikohora said under the banner of Progressive Political Parties (PPP) parties such as CODE, Thokozani Khupe led MDC T and PDP led by Lucia Matibenga have been calling for a national dialogue.
“We have been calling for a national dialogue together under the banner of the Progressive Political Parties. We are glad that President Mnangagwa called for a national dialogue of all the political parties that contested the Presidential elections.
“We participated in this dialogue under the banner of Progressive Political Parties.
“It is important for Zimbabweans to come together, put our hands together and put our country first. We have to fix our economy and do what is right for Zimbabwe; we have to work together as Zimbabweans even the re-engagement into the community of nations so that Zimbabwe can be an equal player in the politics of nations,” Chikohora said.
MDC-T national spokesperson Linda Masarira said the national dialogue is the first step towards reuniting political forces in Zimbabwe.
“It is time that all political actors put Zimbabwe first and stop keeping the nation at ransom six months after elections.
“It is good for our country that people find each other. Our nation is too polarized. There are destructive divisors. We need to see all political players burying their differences and focusing on bread and butter issues. The winner and losers all need to be magnanimous. Zimbabwe is such a beautiful country with vast potential for prosperity. We are praying for a fruitful dialogue which will see all political leaders putting Zimbabwe first,” Masarira said.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) president Lovemore Madhuku said the basis for governance in every country is through a dialogue.
The Law professor said NCA is not going into the dialogue to change the election results or to negotiate a power agenda but to make a contribution on the direction the country must take.
“We are not getting into the dialogue to change the results of the elections. We don’t have any electoral disputes. We are going into the dialogue to make a contribution on economic, social and political issues,” said Madhuku.
“We are going in there for a reform agenda not a power agenda. Elections come and go and no election is perfect. We go to elections with a question of who governs. We are there to make contributions for future reforms,”
He added that the most important thing in this dialogue is to find each other as every political parties have a different approach to issues.
Meanwhile, Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) leader Noah Manyika is of the view that the current environment is not offering a conducive environment for a national dialogue.
Manyika said any meaningful dialogue was going to take place if the people who are wrongfully detained have been released and the army is withdrawn completely from the streets and from manning roadblocks.
“It can only take place if, as the President promised upon his return from his overseas trip, the head of those who have been responsible for brutalizing citizens roll.
“Let me state unequivocally that I don’t believe the president has created the right conditions for dialogue, something that is in his power to do.
“I fully support the principled stand taken by my colleagues not to attend this meeting while members of their organization languish in detention, are denied due process or are still being hunted by partisan security service and the police,” he said.