Mnangagwa’s dialogue will not work, simple!

Candour Nqaba Matshazi

LET me start with the conclusion: The political parties dialogue that President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched last Friday is a political theatre and pageantry that will not yield anything, and the best thing is to can it almost as immediately as it was launched.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

I almost said the dialogue will fail, but something that fails is something that has set objectives and prospects for success, but this is an elaborate charade that can honestly achieve nothing.
Let me step back and explain how I reached at such a conclusion.

The latest round of Zimbabwean problems follow an election that the MDC Alliance claim they won, but which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says was won by Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa won the vote with a figure ranging from between 50,6% to 50,8%, while his rival Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance got 44%.

Chamisa insists that Zimbabwe faces a legitimacy crisis, while international observer missions also questioned some aspects of the vote tallying.

On that score alone, the dispute that Zimbabwe faces, the impasse that is ostensibly holding the country back, is the stalemate between Mnangagwa and Chamisa and nobody else.

Mnangagwa understands that this stalemate is holding Zimbabwe back and there is need for dialogue, but instead of addressing this, he has gone for an elaborate box-ticking exercise, as if to demonstrate to outsiders that he is doing all in his power to fix Zimbabwe.

This is the most extravagant form of keeping up appearances, and I daresay it is not genuine and thus will not move the country forward.

Presidential candidates like NCA’s Lovemore Madhuku or Bryn Mteki did not dispute Mnangagwa’s victory and the votes they got are so insignificant that even if the dialogue with Mnangagwa succeeds, it will not improve Zimbabwe’s economy nor prospects.

Besides the stalemate, the reality is that most Zimbabweans in urban areas have little or no faith in Mnangagwa and even less faith in Madhuku, Mteki or Thokozani Khupe of the MDC-T.

The presidential candidates that Mnangagwa is consorting with got a combined 2,7% of the vote, which in all honesty is not enough to force a dialogue that could drag us out of the economic quagmire.

To end this stalemate, therefore, there is need to end posturing and engage in proper and meaningful dialogue.

This first step to begin real dialogue is to end this facade that is now known as the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), it is pointless and nothing more than an ego-stroking exercise.

Secondly, if it takes moving mountains to bring Chamisa to the dialogue table, then Mnangagwa has to summon all his strength and do it.

Both Mnangagwa and Chamisa have indicated their willingness to talk, so I do not see the problem here. Both are amenable to dialogue, so what is holding them back?

No matter how fraught with difficulties that dialogue may be, it could change the country’s fortunes and so it has to be pursued at all costs.

We saw it in 2008, where former South African President Thabo Mbeki brought sworn enemies, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to the table.

Even as they were holding talks, Mugabe hurled insults at Tsvangirai and the latter responded in kind.

There were times when there were serious impasses, allegations that State security organs were spying on the mediator, charges of the involvement of Americans and that there were moles in all camps.

But guess what, Tsvangirai, Mugabe and MDC leader Arthur Mutambara signed on the dotted line that brought some form of prosperity to the country and an improvement in the lives of Zimbabweans.

Please, do not confuse this as agitation for a government of national unity.

Kenya provides an example of how a government and a disillusioned opposition can come together for the good of a country.

I believe that any form of dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa has the potential to uplift the national mood more than the pseudo-dialogue that was launched last Friday.

Dialogue is about compromise; it is about giving and taking and in the end bringing out the best possible deal.

What possibly can Khupe, Mteki, Madhuku and others on one hand demand and give to Mnangagwa on the other.

Instead, they are grateful to be on the so-called negotiating table and in their gratitude I do not expect them to be making any meaningful demands.

If, for example, Madhuku makes a strong demand and Mnangagwa tells him that he represents barely anyone except about 0.1% of the voting population, which is negligible in the bigger scheme of things, how will the NCA leader respond?

The current dialogue is not a meeting of equals. Rather, one group is absolutely emaciated and the real power is in the hands of one person.

At best, we can describe this as an echochamber, where Mnangagwa is happy to meet with people who will only be happy to parrot what he says, or at worst, a monologue, where there is no one with enough
standing to oppose the President.

Putting an end to this POLAD would not be such a bad idea, after all.

14 Comments

  1. Matshazi, can you really use such a national platform to write such a useless article. You will be disappointed to know that some of us in the MDC would want dialogue with ED. We would want to see Chamisa sit down with ED and have dialogue. I understand it might not happen because Chamisa and his student movement history makes him nothing but a spoilt child of politics.

    The childish behavior by our party is exactly why we are here. For us to create the democratic space we want we have to have dialogue. We need a negotiated solution. Otherwise in grabbing power, MDC will end up just like ZANU PF. Look at Chamisa he grabbed power and he seems not interested in letting it go till he is president of Zimbabwe. He failed us in the last elections. How can we field two candidates from MDC and split votes!!! He should have stepped aside to allow a new leader with fresh ideas. Now he thinks he is the only one capable of leading.

  2. No, it will work, you will not work, SIMPLE.

  3. Mlungisi Ngwenya

    ED won fair and square and Chamisa knows this and yet publicly he is mischievously and childishly portraying something else. It clearly can’t be right and absolutely no dialogue with Nelson on his puerile terms should be entertained at all.

    1. In that case why bother with him? Tongai ka tione.

      1. Such arrogance and naivety. Its not about Chamisa vs ED…this is not football, kuti Manchester United vs Liverpool. Its about Zimbabwe. Chamisa is an incompetent leader! He can not acknowledge that he doesn’t have negotiation skills needed to engage with other stakeholders. That’s why he resorts to throwing tantrums like a child. We want a real leader in the MDC. A leader not afraid to sit down and have a deep conversations with ED for the benefit of the country. Am actually worried that ED will fix the economy and my beloved MDC will lose its relevance. Zimbabwe needs a strong opposition with a people centered ideology, not a party that gets told by other countries what to do!! Wake up MDC!! Before its too late.

      2. No one is bothering Chamisa. Saying Chamisa is useless is not bothering him.It’s Matshazi who is trying to elevate and force his beloved Chamisa into the dialogue.

  4. The mistake you are making is thinking that Chamisa is the answer to the Zimbabwe economic woes we are facing currently. Please do not individualize these issues. the problem is actually you and me on our mind set. We need to change this mind set that “some individual – president (ED or Nero) will set us free. As long as we do not change our mindset , believe me, this thing (Our Zimbabwe) will forever make us cry. Food for thought!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. It is not food for thought PKC but reality. Africans, I am widening the net, need a mindset change to stop fighting each other and see what is happening in front of their eyes. Resources are being taken from Africa to make the wealthy wealthier while Africans fight each other. For what? Unfortunately this will not go down well with those Africans benefitting from the infighting.

  5. Original ZANU

    Kkkk, I dont know if you intented it to be a cynical pun when you sai “…is a political theatre and pageantry that will not yield anything…” considering the name of the grouping! Political Actors bla bla bla. You nailed it though, Nqaba. Let all the CIO and ZANU PF morons claim to be members of MDC and denounce you and MDC but the facts are there for all to see. No need to even gainsay what these stupid trolls say. Let them continue to use tired methods and lie to themselves. Tongokutarisai hedu.

  6. I agree “we need to change our mindset” because this guys are not God and they need to respect us because their power comes from us,not for us to fear them,The only thing that makes MDC different its because it has never been in Power ,otherwise you will find out this guys are just the same with ZANU,look at Harare City Council headed by MDC what are they doing? nothing.They`re all Politicians and their behaviour is one.Their greedness and Power hungry is blinding them to see and resume 2009 GNU that came to our rescue.As for ZANU fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me,lets not be fooled to believe that sanctions and MDC are cause to our problems all they want is to shift our focus,yet they are the ones who are failing.The only person i now have faith in is GOD and Myself.

    1. Thats the point mate, you nailed it

    2. We need more of you!!!! Totally agree. Let’s not wait for leaders to lead us. Lets lead ourselves the best way.

  7. The only reason dialogue might not work is if one of the participants, doesn’t want it to work!

  8. Comment…but kana mukasanzwisisana muri2 one hangatsvaki mediator wake. all of u should agree abt mediator, wats worries if I quickly
    ush for dialogue they will put u in pocket like lastly happened at Tsvangirai , again politics is all about going opposite

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