National dialogue needed


While it may not necessarily be true that President Robert Mugabe needs former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to resolve problems besetting Zimbabwe, from economic regression, unemployment, and an almost insurmountable corruption diseases, there is, however, need for Zanu PF to initiate a national dialogue of sorts with citizens as a way of finding a common approach and a way out of this crisis.

Column with Rashweat Mukundu

It is no longer enough for Zanu PF to gather in Chinhoyi as happened in December or at any other place end of this year to celebrate July 31, yet nothing is changing and as many people are nostalgic of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

The GNU itself, while borne out of dialogue with no input from citizens of Zimbabwe, nevertheless brought some semblance of stability, a demonstration of oneness despite political differences and as many initiatives were jointly launched by the President and the then Prime Minister.

If the GNU, with all its failures brought us a few successes, then there is more reason to believe that genuine national
dialogue and consensus on the developmental trajectory of Zimbabwe will bring even more positive results.

A number of reasons motivate this argument, key being that despite its victory, Zanu PF retains an astonishingly low economic literacy rate.

This party has A grades in politics and the retention of power, but clueless on the economic front.

For these reasons, and in a very short period, we have seen as many policy contradictions and inconsistencies from Zanu PF.

While Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is engaging the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, The Herald columnist, Nathaniel Manheru, believed to be a senior government official, is busy attacking Chinamasa for this move.

Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema has been flip-flopping on the indigenisation policy that many are no longer sure where he stands.
In any case a question has to be asked, what is there to indigenise when industries are closing down and machinery is broken and needs replacement?

Mugabe, while hoping things could be better, equally appears clueless. His lieutenants ignore him on many issues and the struggles within Zanu PF are increasingly getting out of hand.

Information minister Jonathan Moyo, in response to Tsvangirai’s state of the nation address, does not engender confidence as it was a personal attack and not focused on substantive issues raised by the MDC-T leader.

Citizens are tired and not interested in what Moyo thinks of Tsvangirai’s bedroom struggles as these have absolutely nothing to do with us.

Whether Tsvangirai becomes efficient in the bedroom will not bring food on the tables of as many struggling families.

Having won the July 31 election and having crafted ZimAsset, the question remains on many people’s lips: So what?

Zanu PF must use its political dominance to be magnanimous and initiate national dialogue in which ZimAsset and related developmental programmes are scrutinised, improved on and where necessary accepted across the board.

As things stand, it is Zanu PF against the rest.

Having quieted civil servants by giving a pittance of a salary increase, this is, however, not victory, but rather a demonstration of the limited choices available to both Zanu PF and the suffering servants, in other words a demonstration of failure.

While Zanu PF cannot afford to pay the civil service a living wage, the same workers feel constrained and limited of options, but to accept what is given and as we all know maintain their lethargic approach to work.

The unhappy civil servants will continue hanging their jackets on office chairs and leave to chase the United States Dollar somewhere.
ZimAsset is under threat not only from a lack of funding, but a dissatisfied civil service that sleeps on the job and does not feel well accommodated in Zanu PF’s plans.

Another critical area where Zanu PF needs national dialogue is on the ever growing and exploding corruption in almost every sector more so those sectors under the direct ambit of the state.
The cases are way too innumerable to mention and the sums involved too huge to fathom.

In essence, Chinamasa’s funding headaches are neither sanction-induced nor wholly to be blamed on the economic challenges, but are largely a result of corruption.

Without any figures to anchor my arguments on, I am, however, sure that Treasury is losing billions, which could support government business and the social sectors.

The loopholes are minerals smuggling, internal abuse of government travel funds, fuel allocations, motor vehicles, phones, smuggling by the well-connected and inflated costs of services and equipment.
If Zanu PF wants to save Zimbabwe, then there is need for an honest introspection within the leadership.

The problems in Zanu PF of selfishness and lacking a conscience have now spread like a cancer into the whole society as everyone is looking up for themselves and do not care what is happening next door.

It is for this reason that as many who are mandated to implement government projects would rather steal, cheat and enter into corrupt deals than do as requested or as expected.

Zanu PF needs a new approach and with it a new team to clean the mess and do the very basics in governance namely planning, consultation, delivery and action.

ZimAsset talks the right language yet there is no focus on the quality and a capacity of the leadership to deliver.

Instead of behaving like a ruling party, Zanu PF appears far less confident of its victory and leadership capacity hence the focus on trivialities including Tsvangirai’s bedroom issues.

All the issues that Mugabe complains about, from imperialism, neo-colonialism, unbalanced international relations will not be solved through the podium, but by action.

The President is, therefore, encouraged to talk less and act more.
Ultimately, Zanu PF needs everyone in this crisis period.
The party must infuse a new value system of reward by hard working and honesty.

The party must look whether it still has such people within its ranks to advance this message and approach.

As things stand and with a lone ranger mentality sitting within Zanu PF, we are in trouble, deep trouble.


  1. I have seen you have avoided to mention that the national dialogue with ‘people’ includes Tsvangirai, unless you are saying Tsvangirai is not a person.Obviously dialogue with the ‘people’ is only possible through the ‘people’s leaders’ rather than through engaging all 13 million Zimbabweans. In a way , you are right, anyone can rig the elections but definitely not the economy particularly when you are a lazy lot.

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