US calls for immediate national dialogue in Zim

HARARE - United States (US) has taken a tough stance on Zimbabwe, calling on the political leaders to immediately initiate  national dialogue that must be facilitated by a neutral third party.

This comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week called all 2018 presidential candidates for dialogue at the State House.

However, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa snubbed the meeting but insisted he is genuinely willing to enter into formal negotiations if certain conditions were met by Mnangagwa’s government.

Among his demands are mediation by a neutral third party recognisable to Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU), including a requirement that all “prisoners of conscience” be freed, and that there be an immediate return to the barracks by the military.

In response, Mnangagwa said the MDC leader “risked missing the bus”, if he did not pitch up for talks.

However, in a hard hitting statement issued on Tuesday, the US government said national dialogue must be held immediately, further condemning the Zimbabwean government’s excessive use of force during the protests, where at least 12 people were reported dead.

“The United States calls on all sides to come together immediately in national dialogue. 

“The dialogue process must be credible, inclusive, and mediated by a neutral third party.

“In order for such a dialogue to succeed, the Government of Zimbabwe should end its excessive violence and intimidation, immediately release the civil society activists who have been arbitrarily detained, and hold security force members responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable.

“We also reiterate our call for the Government of Zimbabwe to enact promised political and economic reforms,” Robert Palladino, the deputy spokesperson in the US Department of State said in a statement.

The call for dialogue also comes after the church in Zimbabwe demanded the leaders to get to a round table to iron out problems bedevilling the country.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) last week called for a meeting of the political leaders in Harare. However, Mnangagwa did not attend the meeting, resulting in people questioning the political leaders’ sincerity in having the talks.

While Mnangagwa wants a broader multi-party initiative, Chamisa — who disputes results of the July 30 polls — prefers a dual engagement on the grounds that he is the only one among all the other presidential elections who is contesting results of last year’s elections.

At last week’s church meeting attended by government ministers, members of the opposition parties, and delegates from industry, the security sector, civil society, human rights groups, trade unions, as well as international observers, including some ambassadors, the ZCC general-secretary Kenneth Mtata said national dialogue was the church’s answer to the crisis.

He said the ZCC, which hosted the meeting together with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, and the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa had recognised that “the nation finds itself at the cross-roads,” and said “the churches had made their voices louder regarding the urgency and necessity of a national dialogue”.

Many observers, just like church leaders, believe national dialogue will help recoup the country from the political and economic problems.

Zimbabwe is facing a legitimacy problem after a contested presidential election. This, coupled with the economic challenges has been raising tensions amongst the citizenry, which saw people taking to the streets last month.

The State security responded in a harsh manner, with reports of rape, torture and murder characterising the brutal crackdown.

The world condemned the State heavy handedness, with the US also expressing concern over the developments.

“The United States remains seriously concerned about the excessive use of force by Government of Zimbabwe security forces since January 14, which has resulted in at least 13 deaths, 600 victims of violence, torture or rape, and more than 1 000 arrests…

“The Government of Zimbabwe’s use of violence against civil society and imposition of undue Internet restrictions betray promises to create a new Zimbabwe,” the US government said.

    Comments (18)

    I thank the Americans for their candid intervention. Our friends in SADC are rather timorous, at times. I also thank the Americans for clearly laying out the road map for the restoration of democracy and removal of sanctions. I pray that the leaders will ride the bus together for the national good.

    New Dispensation - 14 February 2019

    What national dialogue is USA encouraging Zimbabwe !-is it the presidential,parlimentiary or council elections 2- is it the killing of six protesters on 01 August 2018 3-is it the looting by protesters on 12-14 January 2019 that resulting of more death 4 is it the zidera USA sanctions impose on zmbabwe. why is Zimbabwe need to start with international third party before ourselves.What USA is bulling to zimbabwe ahead of SADC AND AU?USA is not a good friends of Africa but wanted to create its godness here and hostility . For Chimisa is not recognize ED as president of Zimbabwe and also is not recognize the ruling by Concourt so he is above the law. Any meeting with Chamisa that will result him a loser its rigging so the natonal dialogue must have one answer him a winner.USA and Chamisa have answers before dialogue

    Voice - 14 February 2019

    The US must learn that they are not the headboy or prefect of this world. How can they order a dialogue as if Zimbabwe reports to it. We know they want their puppet to be in Government so that they get acces to government activities.

    John Sigauke - 14 February 2019

    @ Vote, the country is in crisis as a result of either a faulty election or a partisan judiciary...FACT. If the Advocate recognises the outcome of a rigged election ....will there be anything to negotiate?

    New Dispensation - 14 February 2019

    Some people are just useless, shallow minded and good for nothing. When it is said a third party, there is never a mention of an outsider but a "neutral one". Why is it that some people behave like they dont understand people are suffering. National dialogue is key. Why would you want Chamisa to recognise a clearly rigged election result.

    mapamba pashi - 14 February 2019

    Zimbabwe is regressing at an alarming rate. Those who cant afford a decent meal, school fees, unemployment etc are yearning for dialogue. Those in the comfort zones prefer the status quo. Zimbabweans need to be serious and dialogue. In this instance USA is merely saying Guys grow up and discuss and find a solution round your problems. So whats wrong with those who encourage dialogue? Nharo kupera maZimba whats wrong with your minds arguments all the time. Shame

    Kambiri - 14 February 2019

    Why does Chamisa think kuti maZimbabwean cant do it alone. Most countries solve their own mess. When he becomes president, we will call other foreign presidents to do his job - Uone hasha dzinoitwa naChamisa.

    Nyandoro - 14 February 2019

    The US is simply parroting what the MDC and Chamisa issued in their so called response to ED's call for national dialogue. Whenevet a foreign power starts working hand in glove with an opposition party to overturn results of a democratic election they cease to be a credible arbiter. Even then, the US no longer has leverage in Zim. They imposed sanctions a long time ago and there is nothing else they can do.

    Buns Tinobvinex - 14 February 2019

    I am sorry for Mapamba Pashi to used those strong words''some people are useless,shallow minded and good for nothing''. Mr Pashi it is how democracy do,free to express one self as you do , even one is opposing to what you want. We are debating national dialogue for the better of us all Zanu pf ,MDC-A or any citizen.Zimbabwe is neither for ED nor Chamisa but for you and me also.These two men are not the wisest on this land are politicians that use the influence and propaganda to lure us. Their influences and propaganda we can reject and accept in what one is based on that propaganda.The party third[shahwira]which are suggested by USA that come from neutral base that is out side Zimbabwe is questionable.WE citizens must try our best to solve our problems before look for a help . Shahwira must be someone who understand a family problems without external influence that will result unfair outcome.National dialogue must not have conditions that must be met because its a discuss without any guarantee the ending results. For record, check these politicians they have unmatched wealth in their pockets,houses.cars,and more things both ruling and oppositions no one is poor.They have a well paid jobs so be wise.

    Musha - 14 February 2019

    @John, when you waffle about sellouts and puppets you forget that Zanu is the headboy of puppets and selling out. The Chinese are having a field day. You have no credibility dude. Zanu has been in power for 40yrs ichingomamira. Endai mhani. Imbwa dzevanhu

    Moe Syszlack - 14 February 2019

    @moe, you hurt your brother who stand for his views.History make us wiser especially the coming generation,either it a good or bad one but its our.If we are continuing counting loses without planing how to make profit we will have achieve anything as a country.Moe yes you are unhappy with views of others especial the one who attack your party but as the waiting party to be on steering seat you must demonstrate the good ethics to show maturity within the party. The case is should USA influence the national dialogue by finding the the third neutral party which outside Zimbabwe.Who is choose them is it ED,SADC.AU.EU or USA.if it is in Zimbabwe who choose them.Mr Moe your views will help for us to understand.Happy Zimbabwe

    Hope - 14 February 2019

    Chamisa was promised US$15 billion by Donald Trump when they met in Chicago last year. True or false. He confirmed on HardTalk that he was peddling fake news about the US$15 billion. "I did not meet Trump" he said and that was embarrassing to say the least. How can any sane person trust a fool like Kamisa

    Ndiani Ndiani - 14 February 2019

    Zimbabwe is supposed to be a progressive member of the international community that contribute positively to the wellness of its citizens and the world at large. Any member of the international has a right to warn guide assist another when one is in turmoil. It is from that perspective that the USA is calling for an immediate dialogue. The best placed board to champion that call is SADC but unfortunately for reasons best known to itself SADC has not acknowledged the crisis in Zimbabwe therefore does not see the need for dialogue. SADC is a shame an irrelevant organisation that should have seized to exist in 1994 when the last southern African country got independent. The rest of the world is alive to that fact thats why countries like the UK and USA steps in for the sake of humanity. Then coming to the dialogue itself, a credible convener and neutral venue is paramount for serious engagement. ED and Chamisa are players and referee is needed. Chamisa cannot recognise ED as President of the country otherwise he becomes a player that did not show-up but he can recognise him as President of zanupf and vice versa, the other presidential aspirants of the July 30 plebiscite are irrelevant they did not challenge the result which they are being represented by ED.

    Sinyo - 15 February 2019

    Zim is being affected by a political impasse, a dialogue shld enable all stakeholders to craft the way forward for the country. all political parties should not preempt a negative out come from the dialogue before it is concluded.

    derick tsimba - 15 February 2019

    Some people looks like they have heard about UN Article 2 Paragraph 4 about territorial integrity and political independence.

    AG - 15 February 2019

    So, Chamisa's narrative and USA are suspiciously similar. A house slave is this Chamisa. From the get go, he never had my vote!

    jacktheswede - 15 February 2019

    You can take the last 40 yrs arguing!!! And the rest of your lives even.... But the truth of the matter democracy or not ZANU PF HAIITE PLEASE!!!!

    Tau - 16 February 2019

    TO HELL NE USA NE PUPPET YAVO CHAMISA

    mudzimu - 18 February 2019

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