Farirai Machiwenyika and Joseph Madzimure
President Mnangagwa is tomorrow expected to officially launch the Political Actors Dialogue (polad) at the Harare International Conference Centre, which seeks to bring unity among political players and chart the way forward for the country.
The launch is in line with the President’s call after assuming office for unity and common purpose towards restoring Zimbabwe to its former glory and beyond.
POLAD is expected to engender a culture of peaceful engagement among Zimbabweans as a mechanism to deal with any issue that may affect the country.
This was said by leaders of some political parties that are part of the POLAD process in separate interviews yesterday.
Zanu-PF acting secretary for Legal Affairs, who is also the secretary for Finance Cde Patrick Chinamasa, gave a progress report on the political parties dialogue during a Politburo meeting in Harare yesterday.
Zanu-PF secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the development.
polad provides a platform for the exchange of political ideas and opinions in a peaceful and respectful environment.
A lot of political actors have responded to the call for political dialogue while a few such as the MDC-Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa unfortunately took this call for unity as a sign of weakness and embarked on a grandstanding spree intended to keep their political lives healthy.
MDC-T vice president Mr Obert Gutu said they were committed to the improvement of people’s lives.
“The MDC-T is determined to contribute to the betterment of the lives of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.
“We want to see the national economy re-boot and job and employment opportunities for our people being created,” he said.
“Our main reason and purpose for participating in the ongoing Political Actors Dialogue is to make a positive and patriotic contribution towards the governance of our country.
“Although we are not in Government, we believe that as a patriotic, progressive Pan-Africanist and people-centred political party, we should be afforded the opportunity and a forum to put across our views and suggestions regarding how the country should be governed.
“Our expectations are to have a mature, mutually respectful, patriotic and progressive national discourse where all pertinent issues are robustly discussed and debated without fear and/or favour. Where we disagree with the Zanu PF-led Government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, we will clearly and fearlessly articulate the areas.”
He said one of the topical issues they wanted addressed as a party was the scourge of corruption.
Mr Elton Mangoma, who contested under the banner of the Coalition of Democrats, said Zimbabweans should always talk to each other.
“The first thing is that as Zimbabweans we should always have is a culture of dialogue. People should be prepared to sit down and talk about all issues and when we have disagreements we should always find each other through dialogue,” Mr Mangoma said.
“I also expect that going forward there would be a lot more tolerance to reduce the heavy hand that has been used to deal with demonstrations and also a reduction in violence. We should also be able to talk about anything without any sacred cows.”
Mr Bryn Mteki, who contested as an independent candidate, said it was important that Zimbabweans realise that the country would only develop through unity.
“Without pre-empting the message I will deliver tomorrow the main message going forward is that united we stand and divided we fall,” he said.
“I urge our people to take advantage of this historic moment and would like to say as Zimbabweans we are one irrespective of our political affiliations. The most important thing is that we need to revive our economy and that can only happen if we are united.
“This dialogue process has shown that we need to be engaging each other as a nation always and it’s my hope that those who have shunned dialogue so far see sense and join us. I thank President Mnangagwa for creating this platform which was not the case in the past.”
Meanwhile, leaders of political parties participating in the dialogue are expected to meet today to finalise preparations for the meeting.
“The leaders will meet today just to finalise the logistical arrangements of the launch, but everything is at an advanced stage,” a source who is familiar with the preparations confirmed.
The co-conveners of the dialogue process, the chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Retired Justice Selo Nare and his Gender Commission counterpart Mrs Margaret Sangarwe-Mukahanana were unavailable for comment.
The launch of POLAD is a culmination of an engagement process that was initiated by President Mnangagwa when he invited for dialogue leaders of the 23 parties that took part in last year’s elections.
The process is meant to foster unity and enhance nation building and the parties held their inaugural meeting in February.
The dialogue is part of wider efforts to cement national healing and nation-building.
Out of 23 parties that fielded candidates in the presidential elections, 21 were represented at the inaugural meeting.
The parties have since agreed that there should be no pre-conditions for dialogue and that there should be no sacred issues during the discussions.
Further, previous meetings have agreed that both political and economic reforms should be implemented while politically-motivated violence should be shunned.