MDC-T president Dr Thokozani Khupe has said protests will not resolve the country’s economic challenges, but dialogue, proffering solutions and unity of purpose are required to transform the country’s fortunes.
Dr Khupe, who is part of the national dialogue under the banner of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), said there is no quick fix to the economic problems bedevilling the country, but Government should ensure that prices match people’s salaries.
President Mnangagwa called for dialogue among leaders of political parties that participated in last year’s harmonised elections and almost all of them, except the MDC-Alliance, came on board.
In an interview with our Bulawayo Bureau, Dr Khupe said she was against protests as they did not bring solutions to economic challenges affecting the country.
Her sentiments follow an announcement by the MDC-Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa that they will unleash protests against Government next week.
“My issue is that you can only resolve issues by sitting around the table and talking to each other,” said Dr Khupe.
“You cannot resolve issues by throwing stones, by burning tyres and by going out there.
“But you can only resolve issues by sitting around and discussing issues like we are doing right now (in Polad). If we sit down with them (Government) and they explain to us what is going on, we can also give our input. I’m pretty sure that Government and the President listen to some of the issues that we present to them.”
Dr Khupe said last Friday that Polad members met Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya, among other senior Government officials, seeking an explanation on what is happening in the economy.
Dr Khupe said they had frank discussions with the senior Government officials who explained reforms being implemented.
In response, members of Polad urged Prof Ncube and Dr Mangudya to tame prices and foreign currency exchange rates.
“The problem is the exchange rates,” said Dr Khupe.
“The prices are increasing because they are chasing the exchange rate. Once it goes up everything else increases. That is what we have told them that you must deal with the issue of prices because the cost of living does not match wages and salaries. Wages must match the cost of living.”
Dr Khupe said confidence building, unity of purpose and increasing production were some of the issues that needed to be addressed in turning around the economy.