BY OBEY MANAYITI
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is pinning hopes of improving the country’s situation on the national political dialogue that he launched amid pomp and fanfare in Harare yesterday.
The country is undergoing serious economic challenges which have been worsened by foreign currency shortages that have seen the United States dollar parallel market rate ballooning in the past week.
The economic challenges have pushed the cost of living beyond the reach of many.
In his remarks during the official launch of the dialogue, Mnangagwa said the situation demanded that all stakeholders must discuss in earnest to find collective strategies to arrest the challenges.
“The dialogue we are launching today will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on our country’s political landscape and help contribute to the turnaround of our socio-economic fortunes,” he said.
“This platform is designed to be a vibrant forum through which we proffer solutions to the challenges that confront us as a nation, through peaceful, open and transparent discourse. The culture of dialogue we begin today must, indeed be synonymous with us as a nation and as a people. This journey we are embarking on must ultimately lead us towards improving our democratic practices and culture.”
He implored Zimbabweans to work together to harness the vast potential that the country is possesses.
Declaring that the time for electioneering was over and urging political parties to re-direct their energies towards socio-economic transformation. Mnangagwa said: “However, in view of the reality that the major concern is on the need for economic resuscitation which cannot be solved by political parties alone, it has, therefore, been agreed that other stakeholders who are deemed essential can always be invited to participate in the dialogue.”
Although, the main contender during the July 30, 2018 elections in terms of votes, the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC is not part of the process, a majority of those who participated have endorsed Mnangagwa’s leadership and reiterating the need to come up with collective solutions to the country’s problems.
The parties signed the code of conduct that will bind their operations and conduct during the tenure of the talks.
Various political leaders urged the nation to shrug off the “small parties” tag, insisting that they were important players whose views must be taken aboard for national development.
MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe said the political parties have shown leadership qualities by agreeing to participate in the dialogue.
She also showered praises to Mnangagwa for initiating the dialogue.
“Once again, I want to thank my colleagues for the very fact that they decided to put their heads on the block despite all the attacks and the prophets of doom who want this dialogue to fail. We were referred to as small political parties or that we have no people, but regardless of that you continued to this day. Let me also thank you (ED) for your commitment,” Khupe said.
South African ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete applauded Zimbabwe for the initiative, saying the Southern African Development Community region stood ready to assist in any way to ensure the dialogue endures.
“We are grateful that the leadership of Zimbabwe has established the dialogue voluntarily,” Mbete said.
“This is a demonstration by an African country working on an African problem to get an African solution. The success of the dialogue will have far reaching consequences to the region.”
Meanwhile, the President urged the media to be sincere on the dialogue.
“I particularly want to appeal to our brothers and sisters from the media to play a constructive role in our dialogue, nation-building and other critical national processes.
“In all mature democracies the world over, the media is a critical partner in nation building. The media must, therefore, resist the temptation to be a vehicle for sowing seeds of division and despondency among the citizenry,” he said.