March 20, 2019

Churches call for ED, Chamisa dialogue

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CHURCHES working under the banner of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) have offered to provide a framework for President Emmmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC to come to the negotiating table as the economic crisis worsens.

This comes as Chamisa, who initially refused to recognise Mnangagwa’s victory, has of late offered himself for dialogue “for the sake of the suffering masses”.

ZANU-PF, whose initial offer for dialogue was spurned several times by Chamisa, has continued rebuffing the opposition leader’s calls for talks, saying he lacks maturity.

“We can choose the route of engagement or the route of conflict, the route of individual solutions or that of a shared vision, the route that entrenches greed or one that leads to the common good. As the Church of Jesus Christ, we serve as a sign of hope by being truthful in looking at the current challenges and their root causes,” ZCC said in a statement yesterday.

Shortly before the July 30 polls, the Catholic Church made similar offers as they anticipated a disputed outcome.

Mnangagwa, on the other hand, has rebuffed the MDC leader, saying he does not talk to losers.

“We also remain committed to proffering solutions which are inclusive, realistic and sustainable. The church, therefore, commits to create a shared space for a collaborative national consensus building process aimed at creating a space of trust in which all Zimbabweans can shape a new national imagination.”

Analysts and the clergy have reiterated the need for dialogue to resolve the unfolding crisis and political logjam between Mnangagwa and Chamisa following last year’s July 30 disputed presidential poll results.

The Constitutional Court endorsed Mnangagwa’s win, but Chamisa insisted he won resoundingly against the incumbent.

Zanu PF and MDC, however, set preconditions for dialogue, stalling any prospects for a quick breakthrough in what the interdenominational group said did not bode well for the country.

According to ZCC, a majority of Zimbabweans lack confidence in Mnangagwa and his administration’s capacity to solve the deepening socio-economic crisis bedevilling the country.

“Many people have a low opinion of the willingness and capability of government and other leaders to resolve pressing challenges due to lack of clarity of communication on the nature of the problems and how they are being addressed,” ZCC said.

“We, therefore, call for a broad-based consultative process to come up with a national economic vision and a fundamental redistribution of wealth for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.”

Mnangagwa’s administration faces a groundswell of anger and protests over the economic crisis that has all, but eroded salaries of the majority of workers, with civil servants embarking on an industrial action for better remuneration this week.

MDC spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said every problem in the world was solved through dialogue.

“As the MDC, we are willing to talk unconditionally, based on the five principles that we set out. We are waiting for the Zanu PF leader to come forward and open the dialogue,” Mafume said.

“All we want is to solve our crisis as a country. No problem is insurmountable when people sit down and talk.”

But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo challenged the church to come up with parameters for the proposed engagement.

“In any case, the church has been praying for these problems that we are facing as a country, and if they think dialogue is the solution, they must lead the process in earnest,” he said.

“They have an edge over us, because they are church leaders and it is their duty to lead the process, but with a clear agenda and roadmap.” — NewsDay

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