BY OBEY MANAYITI
SEVENTEEN losing presidential aspirants of the July 30, 2018 elections are set to meet on Friday to choose the convener for the talks being championed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Although other contestants such as MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, Daniel Shumba (United Democratic Alliance), Joice Mujuru (National People’s Party) and Noah Manyika (Build Zimbabwe) have snubbed the dialogue, there was still hope that if a neutral and acceptable convener was appointed, those that were boycotting would be persuaded to participate.
The 23 parties which took part in last year’s harmonised elections were supposed to be part of the national dialogue process initiated by Mnangagwa and spearheaded by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
But only 17, including small and insignificant ones, according to poll results, are making the numbers.
“It’s going to continue on Friday the 29th, we should have held it on the 22nd, but as you know, there were these disasters in the country and the President was running around meeting people and assessing the situation in Chimanimani,” NPRC chair retired Justice Selo Masole Nare said.
“Friday I went to his office to hand him the report, our last report. So Friday will be the day when we will go back to discuss the final analysis of the report.
“The committees have met and produced reports, which we consolidated into one report and it will be presented to the President and then he will present his remarks. The political parties’ gurus will make their remarks on Friday.
“If everything goes well, they will choose the convener as well, then the meetings will take place in a normal situation, depending on when and where the convener would like to have those meetings.”
In a related matter, Bishop Kenneth Mtata, who is leading the churches to break the political ice, said at the moment, different dialogue tracks, which include political parties, civic society organisations, traditional leaders, churches, government and war veterans, were moving on with hope that these would eventually converge into one big national dialogue.
“So serious conversations are happening,” Mtata said.
“What we think will be happening next is the President formally commissioning the convergence of all these processes into a single stream of national dialogue.
“These different conversations must flow into one comprehensive and broad-based national dialogue with a shared agenda, convening and co-ordination, understanding of participation, principles of engagement and timelines. I think we will get there.”