Churches call for inclusive political dialogue
Joseph Madzimure, Harare Bureau
Churches have thrown their weight behind political dialogue, which was initiated by President Mnangagwa immediately after last year’s harmonised polls, but want the engagements to be comprehensive and broad-based without leaving anyone out.
In fact, the church wants the dialogue, being held under the auspices of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), to include them.
This was said Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) secretary general Reverend Dr Kenneth Mtata in an interview. The ZCC is made up of 26 churches with full membership including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ), 10 associate church bodies, among them the Roman Catholic Church, and three observer church organisations.
Dr Mtata’s remarks come after MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa called for the political parties dialogue to be limited to his party and Zanu-PF.
Mr Chamisa is currently on a whirl-wind tour, lobbying Sadc member states to convince President Mnangagwa to engage him outside the Polad framework.
“We want to engage with President Mnangagwa for the betterment of the people. We do not want a Government of National Unity, but sharing the vision, the union of ideas that take the country forward. The dialogue should be outside POLAD,” Mr Chamisa was recently quoted as saying.
But Dr Mtata said dialogue should be inclusive and not about the outcome of the 2018 elections.
“Dialogue should be comprehensive and broad-based participation with the inclusion of all political parties, chiefs, churches and even civil society groups.
“The issue of dialogue is not about the outcome of the previous election. It is known and it’s a fact that Zanu-PF won the election. Dialogue is just meant to bring trust and confidence among the people, business community and politicians to take the country forward. When engaging in dialogue, we need to consult even people at grassroots, districts and provincial levels.
“As churches we need transformation, which ushers peace, justice, unity and prosperity among the people,” said Dr Mtata.
He appealed to politicians to open a number of dialogue platforms besides Polad which include church leaders, chiefs and civil society groups.
“There is also need to include others such as churches, chiefs and civic society groups, to play a part to open dialogue among political players,” said Dr Mtata.
He urged Zimbabweans to brace for an inclusive dialogue, which incorporates all stakeholders to take the country forward.
“Dialogue is imminent, but it is just a matter of time. President Mnangagwa is the Head of State and Government. He is our statesman.
“He has the keys for dialogue, (the) MDC-A leader should swallow his pride and engage and consider President Mnangagwa as the President of Zimbabwe. Dialogue is coming, we need to prepare for it, but it might take time. We do not need foreign intervention,” he said.
Dr Mtata said a foreign mediator, who is being demanded by the MDC-Alliance, was not necessary as local challenges require internal solutions.