Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
February, 6 2019 will go into the annals of history as an historic day where Zimbabweans from different political persuasions came together to confront the national question. The meeting was at the behest of President Mnangagwa in line with the pledge he made during his inauguration last year that he would engage and consult his fellow presidential aspirants on how to solve national problems.
It was a purposive meeting that elided political differences as it was epitomised by frank discussions on key issues affecting the country ranging from the economy and political reforms.
At least 21 leaders of different political parties attended the meeting to start the journey of working together as a people.
Top on the agenda of the meeting was to formulate a framework for dialogue between leaders of various opposition parties and the ruling party. The meeting started with the arrival of opposition leaders at State House just after midday.
As they trooped in at State House, it was clear most of them were mesmerised by the hospitable welcome they received.
Clearly, there was no antagonism as opposition leaders mingled jovially with senior Zanu-PF officials who had arrived earlier with a sense of brotherhood illuminating the proceedings.
It was indeed a Zimbabwean affair by Zimbabweans. National dialogue is here.
As President Mnangagwa indicated in his welcoming brief at the meeting, the onus is on Zimbabweans to raise their country higher up the pecking order of nations and outsiders should only come in to assist.
Justice Selo Nare, who is the chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, moderated the meeting which came up with serious commitments from the parties to move Zimbabwe forward.
Political leaders interviewed by The Herald spoke highly about the meeting and prospects of a bright future for Zimbabwe.
MDC-T leader Dr Thokozani Khupe said: “We must pride ourselves as a country because of the fact that we have managed to come together as opposition parties and the ruling party to chart the way forward in regards to our country and our economy. We are saying we must put our differences aside as political parties and come together so that we talk about moving our country forward.
“We want a better life for every Zimbabwean. The people of Zimbabwe want food on their tables, they want jobs, they want houses and they want good health and education. We agreed as political parties that we are going to dialogue as political parties around these issues so that we find permanent solutions to the problems bedevilling our country.”
National Constitutional Assembly leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the meeting was all about finding each other.
“The purpose of today’s meeting was really to find each other. We are Zimbabweans and as Zimbabweans there can be no harm in meeting from time-to-time discussing issues we face as a country. The most important issue is to raise the standard of living of our people. As opposition political parties we have a contribution to make as Government has also a contribution to make,” he said.
Political analyst Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi yesterday hailed Zimbabweans for uniting towards a common cause.
He dismissed the absence of MDC-Alliance as immaterial saying Zimbabweans would not lose sleep over it.
“The major highlight of the new dispensation in post electoral Zimbabwe was the great indaba of key political players convened by President Mnangagwa. It is clear that there was need for post elections dialogue in Zimbabwe to depolarise the society and refocus energies towards economic recovery and unity.
“The absence of some opposition elements like the MDC-Alliance was immaterial in so far as the dialogue is not about politics or politicians per se, but Zimbabweans from across various faculties of life. The complicity of the absentees in the violent and destructive demonstrations that rocked the country in mid-January shows that they may not have been relevant delegates to a discussion on peace and progress.”
“That they are agents of destabilisation bent on turning a peacefully nation like Zimbabwe into another Libya or create a typical Venezuelan situation where ordinary people who have never been on the presidential ballot paper declare themselves as presidents from the streets is well known.”
Another Harare-based political scientist Mr Richard Mahomva said: “Those who refuse dialogue consciously refuse consensus-building. Likewise, those who refuse consensus building surreptitiously disparage an unequivocal virtue of nation-building.
“Consequently, those who undermine nation-building are a threat to the foremost values which should be uniting us in our competing dictums of democratic difference. Our constitutionally rooted rights to differences are much more micro and insignificant than the urge for posterity which should be the defining mark of the commonness we derive from our political diversity.”