Church lash ED, Chamisa . . . as they push for much-awaited national dialogue

Frustrated church leaders yesterday rebuked President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa for dithering around the country’s much-talked about national dialogue aimed at resolving Zimbabwe’s long-running political and economic crisis.

The distinguished members of the clergy who gathered in Harare for a high profile meeting on the planned national talks said this was the more surprising as both men had played leading roles in discussions which led to the formation of the nation-saving government of national unity (GNU) in 2009.

Then president Robert Mugabe (ousted) and the late Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to bury their deep political differences before signing their historic global political agreement (GPA) — following the hotly-disputed 2008 presidential 



election which the nonagenarian lost hands down to his then nemesis, before embarking on a murderous campaign against MDC supporters ahead of a sham run-off.

The GPA led to the formation of the short-lived, but stability-inducing GNU which ended controversially in July 2013, and to the detriment of the country.

Yesterday, the gathered church leaders also cited the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu PF and PF Zapu as another example of how Mnangagwa and Chamisa should bury the hatchet in the interest of the country and all Zimbabweans.

Mnangagwa, who had been billed to attend the breakfast gathering sent his emissaries there, while Chamisa — who snubbed Wednesday’s talks-about-talks meeting with the Zanu PF leader — was in attendance.

Cleric Simba Mutandwa said both Mnangagwa and Chamisa needed to choose peace over hostilities, despite their serious differences.

“Though not perfect, among Zimbabweans, we have in the past produced recognisable peace, unity, justice and prosperity dividends.

“The Lancaster House negotiations that gave us independence, the talks during the Gukurahundi gave us the Unity Accord in 1987, the dialogue led by churches gave us the national vision document, the ‘Zimbabwe We Want’ in 2006.

“The dialogue after the elections gave us the Government of National Unity in 2009 and the broad national unity among Zimbabweans culminated in the birth of a home-grown Constitution of 2013,” Mutandwa said.

Renowned bishop and founder of Zaoga Ministries, Ezekiel Guti, also implored Mnangagwa and Chamisa to “let go certain interests” to find common ground for talks, which he said were important in rebuilding the country.

“I pray that by grace … God enters your hearts so that we forgive each other and move together,” he said.

“People must come together, humble themselves and repent from that culture that they must have imported from other places,” Zion Christian Church (ZCC) leader Nehemiah Mutendi — a key ally of Mnangagwa — chipped in, while also giving as an example how the late Father Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo, and Mugabe had subordinated their anger to talk to each other.

“We also have people like Tsvangirai ... he did not call it humiliation to meet his opposition for the sake of peace,” he added, referring to the GPA and the subsequent consummation of the GNU.

However, Mutendi shot down calls by Chamisa to have an impartial foreign mediator for the eagerly-awaited talks between the youthful opposition leader and Mnangagwa.

“You can’t ask for a neighbour to show you where to put the head on your bed … they themselves have challenges they need to solve in their own countries,” he said.

While Chamisa himself admitted that dialogue was necessary, he took exception to Mnangagwa “lumping” him together with “small” opposition parties — when the mooted talks “should be between the two of us”.

“We as politicians are the source of the agony of our land … and it should not be difficult for me to meet with Mnangagwa.

“He is president of his organisation and I am president of my organisation and our dispute hasn’t been resolved.

“So, until that issue is resolved, there can never be a meaningful dialogue and I would not come and lie here to the bishops and to God,” Chamisa told the gathering.

He also asked the churches to help in the mediation between him and Mnangagwa, but expressed his disappointment with the Zanu PF leader’s absence.

This was after Mnangagwa sent Zanu PF national chairperson and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who read his speech on his behalf.

“Let us … continue working together towards uniting Zimbabwe, for peace, love, harmony and prosperity to prevail in our nation.

“This platform enables us to brief each other on pertinent issues relating to national development issues and to nurture a common understanding of where we ought to go as a country and the steps we must take to get there.

“As a listening president, I stand to hear your viewpoint in an honest and very candid manner. I’m sure that church leaders and other stakeholders will equally appreciate government’s perspectives on various issues and developments in our country,” Mnangagwa said.

Yesterday’s meeting was part of efforts by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to accelerate talks towards national dialogue aimed at resolving the country’s deepening political and economic crises.

The NPRC has already invited the opposition, Zanu PF, the church and other key stakeholders to submit their proposals which will guide the much-awaited dialogue.

Last month, Zimbabwe was thrown into a ginormous crisis when angry protesters flooded the streets of Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns across the country, demonstrating against sharp fuel price hikes.

Property worth millions of dollars was also destroyed and looted in the mayhem which ensued, after thousands of workers heeded the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ three-day strike call.

At the same time, security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown against the protesters, the opposition and civil society leaders — in a move which received wide condemnation in the country and around the world.

At least 20 people are now said to have died, while nearly 100 others have been treated for serious gunshot wounds, according to rights groups and medical doctors.

Rights groups also continue to report human rights abuses by security forces — including galling allegations that soldiers had raped women and girls during their much-condemned crackdown against innocent civilians.

    Comments (9)

    These clerics are they ZANU PF? Why are they not in the streets standing with people? Is it spiritual to pray for evil to understand pain? Wrong must be addressed not to fear persecution. Only Evan Mawarire is being arrested for truth where is the rest?

    Christ In Me - 8 February 2019

    @Christ in Me, So what is wrong with what they are doing - you want them to join the unless and self-destructive demonstrations. Uri benzi nhai

    willo - 8 February 2019

    Vanhu we mdc hamufunge nhaika.pfungw hamuna.chanisa,zvimaright groups twese turi pa payroll.The more they talk the more they are paid.........those guys are on commission from the western countries whose Land and businesses were distroyed by Mugabe.Mugabe to all Africans Leaders is their number 1 heroe because akachipisa warungu kkkkkk note mdc majority haiziwe kuti ndipo panenyaya yese ipapa.....white and all their interests zvakachipiswa namugabe. Note 3......mdc hamugoni kudaidza warungu back without the blessing of zanu pf .Zanu pf is the founding fathers of that democracy you talk of.ZANU PF formed ZCTU and all the bunch of the civic organisations and allow them those rights and now they forget where they come from.ONE DAY ONE DAY ....They will be bannned completly then thus when you will see there is democracy in zim.ALL CIVIC GROUPS WILL RISK YOUR SELVE TO BE BANNED IF YOU CONTINUE TO TALK AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.IPAI ED mukana chero zvinyarwadza muzvinonaka mberi.NOV 17 was the right day for us all but chamisa abused the chance by grabing power from mdcT and running nesauti muhohwe achifunga kuti zvachipa.Hapana zvachipa apa.After november 2017 there was no need for elections until after 10 years ED directing,inviting the white communities,investors and everyone who want to come to zimbabwe.nonononono one talking anything against ED EFFORTS.Kubvapaya dai pasina kupisa kubva ku opposition nyika yedu ingadai yafamba izvozvi tingadai tave kutowaka nyika.MAKARO REGAI MUTAURE ZVAMWARI PAKUITA KWENYU KWAKATSAUKA.........CHAMISA AIWE MUSOJA HERE WAMUNOTI ANOGONA KUTONGA .AKAMBOTONGEPI KWATINOZIWA...MAZIMBA MAKATSVA FOCUS.....MAZIPOFU EVANHU. MESE KUNA ED.WAMWE VESE NYARARAI NGUWA YENYU INOSVIKA.

    dofo - 8 February 2019

    You these churches are just useless when elections were stolen last year they just zipped their mouths They never said a word Now their party zanu is facing collapse they want to use Chamisa to revive it nxaaa .In 1987 zanu and zapu talked but zanu swallowed zapu in 2008 mdc and zanu talked then zanu went on to poison Morgan killed his wife now again some fools want to have Chamisa killed , ZANU must finish want it started or ship out . They must recall ED if they want to be taken serious bcoz he is clueless .Chamisa must not agree to work with zanu .ZANU IS THE PROBLEM IT MUST GO FINISH AND KLAA These churches are blood stinking liars demety .

    Diibulaanyika - 8 February 2019

    Pasi naNelson!!

    Shepstone Dirwai - 8 February 2019

    Conditions that Chamisa has put forward for dialogue are reasonable. The same happened when Ian Smith called for dialogue and Nkomo and Mugabe demanded release of political prisoners. There is no element of trust and ZANU PF cannot be trusted. They destroyed the economy and people are living in fear how can one have dialogue with murderers and rapists. An apology would be a way to start but this blame game infuriates people

    Eddy - 8 February 2019

    @Shepston uri c i o rakupusa tinozviziva kuti urikuvhaira netumari twamakapuwa pamakapfura wanhu pama demo but amai wako wariku Zumba vari mama nenzara u chingoti pasi na Nelson

    Chimedza matombo - 9 February 2019

    Chamisa should have attended the meeting and he should have raised every one of his points there officially.

    The Beautiful ones are not yet born - 9 February 2019

    Most of the local clerics cannot be trusted with such a monumental task because there are polluted with zanupf malice. Most of them have openly declared their allegiance to the ruling party. Regional organisations especially SADC should be the convener .

    Sinyo - 9 February 2019

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