ED, Chamisa should swallow pride and dialogue


UNITED Nations (UN) special rapporteur Alena Douhan’s 10-day visit to the country to assess the impact of sanctions imposed by the West on Harare has come to end, but her call for “meaningful dialogue”, as she nudges Zimbabwe on reforms, is something worthy of everyone’s contemplation.

The country has been in this political and economic quagmire because inclusive and meaningful dialogue is wanting, all because of egos on the part of the political elite in both government and the opposition.

Several calls for dialogue have been spurned and we hope that the call, coming from the UN, will force the southern African country’s egoistic leaders to consider the plight of their subjects who are suffering the consequences of their selfishness.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has formed the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) and has pampered its principals — leaders of fringe political parties which participated and lost dismally in the 2018 presidential elections — but it has had no impact, except leaving a huge dent in the country’s purse.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has refused to join Polad, claiming Mnangagwa lacks legitimacy. On the other hand, Mnangagwa has ruled out negotiations with Chamisa outside Polad.

This has left the country in a crisis. Mnangagwa and Chamisa garnered over two million voters each, while the fringe political parties failed to get 100 000 votes collectively. This clearly shows who should be part of this much-anticipated dialogue.

Mnangagwa should begin to ask himself that: if Polad is really useful, why the call for dialogue by Douhan?

Sadc chairperson Lazarus Chakwera, who is Malawi head of State and government, has also called for “meaningful and constructive dialogue with a view to consolidate rule of law, democracy, governance and human rights” in Zimbabwe.

Chakwera urged the West to “support Zimbabwe’s efforts towards implementing her reform agenda”.

These recommendations show that Mnangagwa’s insistence on Polad as the panacea to the country’s political and economic woes is an exercise in futility.

This means dialogue without Chamisa will not take us anywhere. Mnangagwa should stop being arrogant and consider the predicament of 15 million Zimbabweans.

He is the biggest beneficiary of dialogue as the incumbent. If things change for the better in the country, it works to his advantage given that the next election is drawing nearer.

The United States has made it clear that without reforms, sanctions will not be removed, and the calls for dialogue by Douhan and Chakwera are confirmation that only dialogue, not political grandstanding, will help the country move forward.

Both Douhan and Chakwera, in their statements, acknowledged the multi-faceted challenges the country is facing.

Chamisa should stop making unrealistic demands as a precondition for dialogue. Chamisa’s deputy Welshman Ncube summed it all up when he said a locally-grounded solution was needed and both Mnangagwa and Chamisa should tap into this wisdom.

Zimbabweans deserve better, hence the UN’s call should be taken seriously by all well-meaning leaders of this great  country.