BY BRENNA MATENDERE
THE Zimbabwe Christian Council (ZCC) has renewed efforts to bring President Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to the negotiating table to discuss the country’s political gridlock that has resulted in untold economic suffering for the majority citizens.
ZCC secretary-general Kenneth Mtata yesterday confirmed the development, saying a meeting of all political parties has been arranged by clerics and will be held in Harare on Monday next week.
“On July 13 2020, bishops will be meeting leaders of political parties for a shared reflection on the current situation and explore possible shared solutions. Some principals have already confirmed participation,” he said.
Mtata revealed that preparatory meetings were ongoing ahead of the crunch indaba.
“This (July 13 meeting) will be a closed-door meeting although a public communiqué will be shared with the media. Bilateral pre-meetings are currently underway in preparation for the consultation. We are not yet able to disclose details of responses (from principals),” he said.
Yesterday, Zanu PF and MDC Alliance gave indications of warming up to the call for talks.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo confirmed that his party had received the invitation.
“We have received that invitation and we are processing it within our organs. MDC Alliance is open for genuine initiatives that seek to unite Zimbabweans and resolve the current political crisis. We are the solution,” he said.
Asked whether Chamisa would be ready to meet Mnangagwa after snubbing dialogue under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) platform, Hlatshwayo said: “The people’s president Advocate Chamisa is ever ready for a genuine dialogue.
Remember the problem emanates from a stolen victory of president Chamisa by Mnangagwa … We are ready for any genuine engagement with Mnangagwa. That is what is enshrined in our RELOAD (Road to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness And Democracy) policy document.”
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa, however, said his party was yet to receive the invitation, but would give it due consideration when it comes.
“So far we have not received the invite. However, when the invitation comes, we will make our internal consultations within the party hierarchy and organs then make an informed decision. At this stage, we would not want to preempt such processes by commenting a lot on the said invitation for dialogue,” he said.
Local church leaders have, since the July 30, 2018 disputed presidential elections, pushed for the two protagonists to meet and patch up their differences, but their efforts always fell flat.