BY MOSES MATENGA
THE main opposition MDC Alliance and its key allies — labour, student movements and church — have resolved to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa to convene a broad-based dialogue to end the country’s multifaceted crisis.
The Nelson Chamisa-led party and its allies made the resolution yesterday during commemorations of the 2007 Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting, where the late MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai and several opposition activists were brutally attacked by State security agents at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare.
The savage attacks marked a turning point in the southern African nation’s politics as it jolted the Southern Africa Development Community to intervene and facilitate talks that culminated in the formation of a government of national unity in 2009.
Yesterday’s meeting was organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and attended by Chamisa and his acolytes from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu).
Chamisa said it was now time to forego “individualism” and bring Mnangagwa and Zanu PF to the negotiating table to collectively resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
“As a party, we resolved to dissolve individualism and amplify collective voices of Zimbabweans. It is no longer time for us to be divided in our little silos. It is time for collective action and we are not going to be coming to these platforms as politicians, but as citizens,” said Chamisa, who has persistently declined to meet Mnangagwa under the auspices of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), describing it as a “charade”.
“We are going to be calling Zanu PF to be part of it because hunger knows no (political) party. We should also encourage Zanu PF to join the convergence of forces because if they are a force, they must be part of it.”
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were fruitless, but the ruling party previously insisted that Chamisa can only engage Mnangagwa under the Polad platform.
Chamisa said he had the keys to unlock the current political logjam as he had the backing of over two million voters who voted for him in the 2018 presidential poll.
“When I am here, I am carrying the voice of over two million voices, not just of voters, but Zimbabweans who believe and who are clear about what the country needs,” he said.
“We also need the war veterans, don’t leave them out in this journey as they are important and we need women organisations.
“We remain optimistic and I also hope that finally, Mr Mnangagwa will begin to see light and begin to understand that he has to feel for Zimbabweans. It is not a normal country when you wake up and see nothing is working, including workers who can’t even work. Nothing is working and nothing is functioning.”
Zimbabwe is said to have an unemployment rate of over 90%, with millions of people surviving on informal trade.
On divisions in the MDC Alliance, Chamisa said: “The MDC is not divided. The people are united except for a few individuals who chose to go, and that doesn’t make us divided. They have chosen to dine with our oppressors. Don’t confuse and conflate the MDC-T with the MDC Alliance, it is like Zanu Ndonga and Zanu PF. Don’t waste time on non-issues.”
On the issue of him being mum on the Zimbabwean crisis, he said: “What do you mean I have been quiet? What is your definition of silence? Over 98% of people with cases before the courts are in the MDC Alliance leadership and we are acting. A revolution is never a walk in the park. This thing of saying Chamisa is quiet, Zanu PF is saying Chamisa is making a lot of noise, and so it depends where you stand.”
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa said Zimbabwe was now a failed State, adding that it was time for workers, students, politicians, churches and citizens to act.
“In our view, Zimbabwe is a failed State that has also lost on legitimacy. We can argue on this all we want, but you can tell Zimbabwe is a failed State when you go to Parirenyatwa, Mpilo or Mutare hospital and you fail to get medication or even a painkiller,” he said.
“You will realise that Zimbabwe is a failed State when you send your children to school on March 22 this year, and you find that there are no teachers because they are incapacitated. From a working class perspective, nothing is working in this country.”
Zinasu representative Nancy Njege said: “We need to come together and not fight each other as we are doing in our movements. We have students and young activists who are in custody for speaking out against the system. We are fighting a State that is armed and we need a united approach and a united front.”
Zimbabwe Divine Destiny leader Bishop Ancelimo Magaya said: “Fourteen years ago, the State descended on the masses and violently disrupted a prayer meeting, resulting in a number of people being injured in the process and Gift Tandare brutally shot dead.
“If 14 years ago we coalesced around issues that bedevilled our country and we still have the same issues, if not more, we have to come around once more and build the Zimbabwe that we want.”