Business has petitioned political parties that coalesced into the government of national unity (GNU) last year to defer elections by at least three years to allow the economy and firms to recover with uninterrupted momentum.
The plea echoes the widely-held political sentiment in the country that politics, particularly elections, is the single largest threat to peace, security, economic stability and democratic progress.
In a bold appeal to Zanu PF, one of the parties leading the call for elections Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Joseph Kanyekanye, said peace and stability in the country was guaranteed only through the GNU and admonished politicians not to stir the muddy waters too soon.
“With regards to elections, if you can give us three more years to leverage, we’ll be happy,” Kanyekanye said.
“We have dignity as Zimbabweans and we want to feed our people. I hope you will be able to listen and listen very carefully. On our behalf, if there is an opportunity, we can extend this peace and tranquility. We support this government of national unit. We have experienced peace and stability through the GNU. Let’s engage; let’s find what works and abandon the poor engagement skills.”
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Zanu PF’s second secretary immediately addressed the issue and assured business representatives their concerns would be considered.
“Elections might come soon or they may come later. Let’s discuss; let’s not be aggrieved,” VP Mujuru said.
“I’m sure you’ve heard that the GNU is almost over. When it’s over what are we supposed to do? Hold elections, isn’t it? But let’s talk to our leaders and tell them what you think. They’ll listen.”
Zanu PF and the MDC-T, the main political parties at the centre of the GNU widely perceived fragile, have been on record calling for “early” elections as a way to end persistent political dogfights over the implementation of key provisions of the global political agreement giving effect to the power-sharing arrangement.
The belligerent parties agreed to the pact to solve ruinous political hostilities and an inexorable economic meltdown that almost sparked social upheavals, but have clashed several times over a number of “outstanding issues”.
The most sticking include sanctions, appointment of governors and ambassadors.
Sanctions featured prominently during the business forum as well as the contentious issue of indigenisation and economic empowerment.
“We urge government to finalise the issue of indigenisation and economic empowerment to reduce uncertainty,” Kanyekanye said.