BY RICHARD MUPONDE
CATHOLIC bishops have called for a multi-stakeholders platform to discuss the socio-economic and political crisis in the country, but ruled out the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), a grouping of fringe political parties which performed dismally in the 2018 elections fronted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a platform.
In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of a meeting to foster co-operation between the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission on Friday, the CCJPZ chairperson, Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro, said dialogue to solve the political crisis in Zimbabwe should not be a preserve of politicians, but all citizens.
“Actually that’s the thinking. Everybody should participate in the dialogue to find a lasting solution to the crisis bedevilling Zimbabwe. It shouldn’t be politicians’ affair only, but for churches, civil society, business and every Zimbabwean to participate and bring solutions to the country’s problems,” he said.
Nyandoro said the multi-stakeholder dialogue should bear the picture of everybody in the country for it to have a national buy-in.
“We should come to a position that every citizen puts a claim on the solutions proffered to lift the country from this crisis. In that way, we will have a lasting solution to the problems facing the country and enjoy peace and social cohesion,” he said.
The Catholic bishops’ views came after MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, in his keynote address at the launch of the Principles of Reliable Inclusive and Credible Elections in Zimbabwe symposium organised by local think-tank, Sapes Trust in Harare last week, said the country could not out-source solutions as local leaders had to sit down and find home-grown solutions.
“That’s why I have said Polad is a non-starter as it was an individual-initiated platform and partisan. Alternatively, we should have a multi-stakeholder platform, where we sit and discuss to solve the problems in the country,” Chamisa said.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki was in the country in December to nudge President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chamisa into an inclusive dialogue.
Chamisa recently said he was waiting for Mnangagwa to come forward so that they dialogue to end the economic crisis.
He has refused to acknowledge Mnangagwa’s victory in the 2018 polls alleging electoral theft.
However, Mnangagwa has declared that he will not engage Chamisa outside Polad.
Churches under the banner of Zimbabwe Council of Churches and Heads of Christian Denominations have also been struggling to broker talks between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.