Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Roman Catholic Church cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori has said his mediation role between former President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces led by General Constantino Chiwenga, although onerous, was not an insurmountable task as he had handled high level negotiations before.
Father Mukonori said the mediations were tough, but the guiding principles for the negotiations were telling each other the truth.
He said this yesterday in an interview on the sidelines of the swearing in ceremony of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who assumed office as Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces following the resignation of President Mugabe on Tuesday.
“It was something where we had to stand with the truth,” said Father Mukonori. “What was important was to be frank with each other, telling each other the truth without emotions, but seeking the truth because that is what God wants.
“It is the work of God. There is a time when one has to rest while another person continues.”
Father Mukonori said his mediation role dated back to the liberation struggle and later between Zanu-PF and MDC where he chaired some meetings.
“It is not my first time, throughout the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe I was part and parcel of the discussions,” he said. “I did not have to fire a gun, but I fired my own brains. Before independence, I played my part in a humble way.
“Since independence, other things have happened, during the Zanu-PF/MDC, I led the first nine or 11 months of the discussion between Zanu-PF and MDC. I chaired some meetings.”
Turning to the new dispensation, Father Mukonori said he was optimistic that President Mnangagwa would deliver.
“We need to leave behind good legacy to benefit future generations,” he said. “Everything we do should be for future generation and prosperity for hundred years to come.”
Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira hailed the peaceful environment that existed last week when the ZDF stepped in to pacify a deteriorating situation. “As traditional leaders, we want to thank Zimbabweans,” he said. “Your wish was that our leader should rest and you expressed yourself well. It was not done through violence, but in a peaceful way. No one was injured.
“You used your brains. The ZDF played its part to say do your things in a peaceful way. There should be no hostilities. The ZDF maintained peace.
President Mugabe then responded to say you have shown that you no longer want me to continue leading you, let me step aside.”
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Mr Karikoga Kaseke, expressed optimism for the tourism industry.
He said tourism development was being retarded by bad perception of the country, some of which was created by the heavy presence of traffic police on the road.
“We just hope the police are going to do their work,” said Mr Kaseke. “We hope they will not be on the road in their large numbers, which was scaring tourism.”
Former Zanu-PF Politburo member Mr Rugare Gumbo said it was critical to give President Mnangagwa a chance to steer the economy.
“This is a historic day,” he said. “Let us give President Mnangagwa a chance. We are happy with the pledges he has made, job creation and investment.
That is what we want.”