Multi-party democracy has been entrenched in Zimbabwe, yet the system has been missing one crucial part — dialogue among political parties and players. We note that President Mnangagwa is pretty much awake to this fact, and that explains why he has kicked off dialogue among political parties that participated in the July 30, 2018 elections.
The political parties’ dialogue is important in many ways, but this can only be effective if all participants are genuine about protecting the national interest.
For a start, we are all Zimbabweans who should always wish good for our country, despite political affiliation. This entails abandoning the antagonistic nature that we have witnessed in the past in which losers treat elections as a matter of life and death.
Such an attitude tends to perpetuate the polarisation of society that would have started with the behaviour of the political party leaders. Zimbabwe is going through a major shift in its economic and political trajectory, and this demands the participation of everyone, including political leaders.
This is why in our view, the inaugural post-election dialogue of political parties held at State House on Wednesday is a step in the right direction.
The benefits of bringing political party leaders together for dialogue are numerous.
Government is making critical, but difficult decisions in its efforts to take the country to glorious days of prosperity, and although it makes the main decisions, cross pollinating ideas with other political leaders is necessary.
Political dialogue helps to build trust, first among the political party leaders, and then cascading to their supporters — simply put, it is a way of uniting people in achieving one goal.
The radical shift done by Government in the economy has taken many people by surprise, and not everyone fully understands what the reforms are aimed at.
This is where dialogue and allowing the input of other political leaders to be heard is important, so that their views are taken into consideration if they align with the broader vision of making Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.
We highly commend the political party leaders who attended the inaugural post-election dialogue in their numbers for realising that Zimbabwe is now past the era of zero-sum politics.
Apart from stifling economic growth, such type of politics and thinking, which resonates with MDC-Alliance’s failed “jecha” strategy, leaves a dent on enhancing the democratic processes.
Political competition is important and highly recommended in any democratic society, yet it can be a nuisance if there is no cooperation among the participants, especially after the elections.
It should always be encouraged for political parties to learn to compete, but also realise that cooperating is more important than the political madness of the campaign period.
In calling for dialogue with the political parties, President Mnangagwa is setting a precedence that no matter how the electoral contest can be hostile, political discussion is necessary for the country to collectively move forward.
To show his genuineness, President Mnangagwa invited those outside the political parties to chair the inter-party dialogue, a move that also shows his willingness to discuss with his presidential election contestants at the same level.
Political party leaders like MDC-Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa should take a leaf from the example set by the President, instead of wasting an opportunity to contribute to the development of the country by boycotting such a crucial meeting.
Chamisa should just abandon this political posturing which equates dialogue with gaining political power.