'Talks offer last chance for Zim'

HARARE - The ball is now firmly in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s court to ensure that his mooted dialogue with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and other key stakeholders kicks off soon, and in earnest — without allowing hardliners in Zanu PF to once again sabotage the process, analysts say.

This comes as the international community yesterday joined hands with local groups in supporting calls for an all-inclusive national dialogue, which they said was the only option left on the table to save the country from imploding altogether following last week’s mayhem.

In that chaos which rocked Zimbabwe — after soldiers enlisted to assist overwhelmed police used excessive force against protesters in Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns — at least 12 people died, while 78 others needed treatment for serious gunshot wounds.

In addition, the government also subsequently launched a vicious crackdown against pro-democracy and opposition officials — earning the ire of the international community and religious leaders.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, political analysts said Zimbabwe had reached a stage where both Mnangagwa and Chamisa were not just compelled to talk to each other, but needed to be strong against hawks within their respective parties who had previously opposed the mooted dialogue.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said Mnangagwa in particular, now needed to show leadership and finally make good on his promise to end the country’s myriad crises.

“While it is difficult to read the mind of anyone, late alone that of a politician, but ... one can give him (Mnangagwa) the benefit of the doubt. I think he is serious on the issue of talks.

“The protests appear to have caught him by surprise and he panicked. And so, he is cornered. He has no choice but to talk. Opening the doors for negotiations may thus also be part of the regime’s survival strategy to retain power,” Masunungure said.

“The implications of last week’s protests is that they could either strengthen or weaken the hand of the hardliners in both parties ... even as the terrible state of affairs in the country cannot continue.

“The other problem is that these protests can also erupt again and sweep everything aside, both the good and the bad ... and only dialogue can stop that.

“The leaders in both parties must thus exercise their veto powers over their hardliners and call for immediate dialogue,” Masunungure added.

Rights lawyer and director for Southern Africa at Human Rights Watch Dewa Mavhinga said Mnangagwa was under the spotlight following his recent welcome call for dialogue — adding that the world “now expects action” from him.

“It is up to ED to prove his sincerity about national dialogue. I am sure he knows that the military crackdown on activists last week puts his word in serious doubt.

“It is unclear whether Zanu PF can be divided into hardliners and reformists because when horrific and horrendous human rights abuses are taking place, the so-called reformists in the party are always silent.

“If Zanu PF has reformists who support human rights, they must speak out now and push for meaningful dialogue that includes all interested parties, including civil society, churches, labour and political parties,” Mavhinga told the Daily News.

Mnangagwa’s move to reach out to Chamisa came as calls for national dialogue aimed at mitigating Zimbabwe’s myriad crises have reached a crescendo, following last week’s ugly disturbances, as well as the subsequent government crackdown against opposition officials and pro-democracy groups.

Before the chaos, Chamisa had re-iterated his desire to open talks with the Zanu PF leader — whom he referred to as “my brother”, in a welcome move which signalled his abandonment of his once militant approach to talks.

“I have met with many on our worsening situation and unbearable suffering. The back-to-school burden, high prices, non-performing economy, joblessness and worthless salaries bring sorrow.

“On this, I call upon my bro(ther) ED to urgent dialogue to solve our politics and economics or it gets worse,” he said on Twitter.

Insiders in Zanu PF and the MDC have also previously told the Daily News that hardliners in both parties were opposed to any dialogue as this threatened their political and economic interests.

This view was bolstered by political analysts who said the hardliners within both parties were “rabidly against talks for self-preservation reasons”.

Masunungure said a fortnight ago that there was “no doubt” that the stumbling block to the mooted dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa were hawks within the two parties.

“There are hardliners and soft-liners in the two parties. It dates back to the declaration by former president Robert Mugabe that he was supporting Chamisa on the eve of the (July 30) elections.

“Before that, Zanu PF was interested in engaging Chamisa and the opposition, but that declaration hardened the view of hardliners in Zanu PF, particularly the military,” he said.

“The hardliners in Zanu PF view Chamisa as someone who cannot be trusted. The MDC Alliance has also taken a hardline stance by rejecting the win by Mnangagwa, and as long as that view that Mnangagwa is illegitimate holds, there will not be dialogue.

“These hardline positions are unrealistic and I don’t see the two parties engaging unless if all these issue are resolved ... but that is what happens in a patronage system ... people will protect their turf.

“If you bring the MDC to government, some in Zanu PF could lose their positions, and so they undermine efforts between the MDC and Zanu PF to engage,” Masunungure added.

Chamisa has been brawling with Mnangagwa ever since he narrowly lost the hotly-disputed July 30 presidential election — whose result he vigorously challenged at the Constitutional Court (Con-Court).

The youthful opposition leader even went to the extent of accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of manipulating the poll results in favour of the Zanu PF leader.

But Mnangagwa’s victory was upheld by the Con-Court, which ruled that Chamisa had failed to provide evidence that he had won the election.

In the meantime, Mnangagwa and his government are battling to turn around the country’s sickly economy.

As a result, Zimbabwe is now in the throes of a mega economic crisis which has resulted in much suffering and anger among citizens who accuse the government of introducing a raft of measures which have further burdened them instead of alleviating their pain.

Comments (19)

Talks will almost certainly yield a positive outcome as long as there is no stupid grandstanding on the part of pwerile Tjamisa.

Enock Nleya - 24 January 2019

Talks should include call for removal of sanctions

Sanctions must go - 24 January 2019

Which stupid grandstanding are u talking about u DOG?

Jola - 24 January 2019

So talks will translate to economic production? Zimbabweans are easily hoodwinked by people looking for jobs.

willo - 24 January 2019

Can someone take me through the nuts and bolts of how dialogue will translate to economic development

willo - 24 January 2019

The only stumbling block in the game is the childish Chamisa. Chamisa must admit to talks knowing his place. He must go there knowing singing the president praises having in his head that the old ED got nothing to loose than him the young dog. We Zimbabweans are not clever enough to know that these old guys got nothing loose,please compare the ages 70/40 80/45? Guys just give give them respect and when you got the grip then push them out. Get in there and win the army,police and cio then start acting like president

Pfeee Mazinyo.Com - 24 January 2019

We all know the problem with the legislators don't we ?,

Public service not private... - 24 January 2019

Looters and thugs must go to prison first for the crimes committed during so called 'demonstrations'. How can you have dialogue with thieves? What will be on the agenda?

Ndiani Ndiani - 24 January 2019

progress starts with u Mr Editor.Thanks to the writer for supporting EDs call for unity of purpose.If we become together as one ,withou throwing sppnners on our way to stardom in the twinkling of an eye,we can rediscover our lost

mambo - 24 January 2019

Fellow Zimbabweans why do you think that the dialog is mainly between ED and NC's parties we have 20 other political parties and a whole lot of churches including Madzibaba churches, Traditional leaders and silent individuals, this should be called National Dialog Conference the diaspora need to be represented as well. Stop planning your small political talks Zimbabwe is for us all.

Mafirakureva - 24 January 2019

We see Zanu is busy creating fake profiles here to make it look like normal Zimbos love the junta. The truth is no amount of negotiations will result in positive outcome for this country as long as Zanu is in the picture. They've had 39yrs!!! Think about that for a second. Zanu needs to go and new players given a try. End of story. Now losers like this vote stealing coup plotter now wants negotiation yeyi? Hamba mhani.

Moe Syszlack - 24 January 2019

The government has proven again and gain that it has no capacity and ability to govern democratically. There has never been democracy in Zimbabwe since 1980 not even a sign of fruits of Independence. Zimbabweans have become more oppressed and dispersed. The ED government lacks the political will to reform and have no respect to the Constitution which is even tilted in favour of ZANU PF. The government policies have caused the economy to collapse not sanctions. Up until the government takes responsibility for their actions any national dialogue is meaningless. To begin with remove Bollar (Bond notes) and use one currency preferably the US DOLLAR to stabilize the economy. Bond notes is chasing away US$ coupled the political unrest. Moreover Bond notes is giving rise to black market and corruption. Change the Constitution to proportional representation and allow postal votes and those outside the country to vote. Establish a credible independent ZEC to run elections. Address all outstanding political reforms and have fresh elections.

Eddy - 25 January 2019

Personally, i don't think they will be any dialogue, ED is not sincere about it. ED torched the chaos when he personally announced the fuel price hike through a televised presser then flew out of the country in a luxurious Swis jet. He returns and moots a dialogue on his tweeter account before consulting with his ruling mates?! Its now 5 -days on after his tweet and the lad is mum while soldiers are still roaming the streets brutalising civilians. Until that call is made by his party zanupf there is no hope.

Sinyo - 25 January 2019

Eddy while I respect your passionate and sincere recommendation for the removal of the Bond note just think of a bad carpenter and his tools affair. Do you remove the tools and retain the carpenter who is doing shoddy and dangerous life threatening repair work to the roof of your house? The last half of your post is full of further instructions and recommendations of what needs to be done but obviously unaware that, like all media houses, so-called analysts, political activists, ect, you are guilty of expecting the devil to put things right. I put it to you, all newspaper editors and all fellow countrymen that the permanent solution is the removal of ZanuPf entirely from running the affairs of this country, for the very monster whom most of you are fondly and erroneously referring to as authorities can never reform itself out of power.,

James Gunike - 25 January 2019

About 40 years ago China embarked on serious economic reforms under the Chinese Communist Party. We all know the results and China is on course to be the global economic leader in a few years time. About 40 years ago Zimbabwe attained independence, inherited an advanced economy with an advanced financial system. Today we are in economic ruins, Great Zimbabwe Economic Ruins. We need to behave like the Chinese. They never went around the world vachipemha, depended on domestic resources and prioritised and remained focused.

Ndiani Ndiani - 25 January 2019

Among all the comments there is one comment that is full of stupidity and arrogance. This fool calling itself eddy is the worst thing in any discussion. The truth part of the thing is that there will never be any dialogue with thugs. The dialogue being talked here is between the government and all stake holders in the economy not chanyiswa. chanyiswa can do his idiotic dialogue with his civic idiots to make sure everyone will cry, that is all he can and able to do. Those who see chanyiswa as god father of this country should just should just go to harvest house get the economy destruction blue print. We are tired of this word dialogue the way it is being used by the newsday dreamers.

shunguhadziurayi - 25 January 2019

Shunghadziurayi,you are an idiot of the worst sort.If You dont want Chamisa to be included in the dialogue,why cant you beloved Ngwena go it alone and turn the forunes of Zimbabwe?All this tension that has gripped Zimbabwe since the controversial election is about Mnangagwa's legitimacy and his failure to address the economic hardships faced by the nation.He promised to ease the cash shortages from the banks on his first taste of the presidency,and what has he done about it?Shame on butt lickers like Shunguhadziurayi,whose mouths are always wide open for any zanu pf leader to urinate,They dont see any evil nor hear any evil when it comes to zanu pf leaders. What beats me most is that people like Shunguhadziurayi live in abject poverty yet they fail to see why they cannot afford the basics of life.They are nothing but cheap biological beings ready to be used at any turn.Its like they were never born!

Luke Bikaz Bikela Bikaldo Munya - 25 January 2019

I do not know why some people easily forget! It was Chamisa who put the condition for talks - that he should first be recognised as President of Zimbabwe. Why are the so-called analysts so forgetful!? Do they even read the Daily News that preached about Mr Chamisa's conditions for dialogue over and over again!? Further, how does one's access to the internet think his/her views are the majority!? This is just sickening!

Mhofu Chaiyo - 25 January 2019

Mabharanzi eZanu like this Shunguhadziurayi fool show us one thing: the extra lengths Zanu goes in trying to influence opinion. Apa hauna kana cent, mukadzi wako chaiye can't even afford new panties. Wotopona nezvemubhero. Yet somehow you want to convince us that the future of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of the same proven failures who have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt kuti imboko for 39yrs now? You're beyond stupid. How much is Zanu paying you kupanza like this?

Moe Syszlack - 25 January 2019

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