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Towards a genuine national dialogue

Statement by ZUNDE, 14 February 2019

In recent times, there has been much talk of a “national dialogue”. Indeed, this is the precise term that President Mnangagwa used when he called the February 6 meeting with political parties that was held at State House.

Nelson Chamisa has been dancing around this idea, on the one hand still refusing to accept the legitimacy of Zimbabwe’s de facto President and, on the other hand, setting conditions on his participation.

It seems inevitable that President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF will have to negotiate with Nelson Chamisa and the MDC. Both are working towards this outcome – Mnangagwa to buy much needed time and Chamisa to obtain a share of power.

Justice Benjamin ParadzaZUNDE believes that genuine national dialogue is too important to leave to politicians alone and should be broadened to include community leaders and other stakeholders from civil society.

Zimbabwe should not look to outsiders to solve its problems. Lasting solutions can only come from Zimbabweans. International intervention is unnecessary and generally ineffective. Regionally, SADC and the AU have both failed us before. Let us Zimbabweans take control of our own destiny for once and find our own solutions. We cannot keep going back to Lancaster House whenever we have a crisis.

Negotiations between Nelson Chamisa and Emmerson Mnangagwa do not constitute genuine national dialogue. Neither do discussions between MDC and ZANU PF – nor even with the inclusion of other political parties. A genuine national dialogue will be an inclusive dialogue among Zimbabweans who yearn to see a better Zimbabwe in their lifetime, regardless of who or where they are.

ZUNDE acknowledges that there cannot be any genuine national dialogue without the participation of these two and we call on them to invite the participation of community leaders and other stakeholders.

But without good faith any attempt at dialogue is bound to fail.

ZUNDE calls on President Mnangagwa to show his good faith by
1. reigning in the violence, rapes and terror that are being unleashed on the Zimbabwean people and by ensuring that the perpetrators are called to account.
2. releasing opposition activists and MPs who have been arbitrarily arrested and denied bail.

ZUNDE calls on Nelson Chamisa to show his good faith as well as political maturity by ceasing his protests against the legitimacy of the President and accepting that he has to enter into meaningful discussions with Mnangagwa and his government.

ZUNDE wishes to see the creation of a free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe characterised by good governance and the rule of law. We strive for ideals and accept realities. We work for an outcome that is better than it would have been if we did not get involved. Politics is the art of the possible.

If we can succeed in getting ZANU and MDC to accept meaningful participation of other institutions and stakeholders in the national dialogue then we will have succeeded in getting such a better outcome.

Genuine national dialogue must seek to overcome the divisiveness of our recent history. As a first practical step, in order to relieve people’s suffering, national dialogue could take the form of an ‘Economic Indaba' comprising political parties, trade unions, and representatives of industry and employers with the goal of achieving a national consensus on economic policy. In the process of stabilising the economy and improving people’s welfare, it will be necessary to address the underlying political issues that are the real cause of our economic suffering and to consider how we may arrive at a lasting political solution through national consensus. Zimbabwe cannot afford to remain in a state of perpetual crisis.

Justice Benjamin Paradza
Exiled Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe
and President of ZUNDE

 

© ZUNDE Inc. 2016

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