AS one of the contesting presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections, I am happy that for once President Emmerson Mnangagwa has listened to the voice of the people and decided to sit down and dialogue.
As candidates and leaders of political parties when we meet with Mnangagwa we are just representing a fraction of the proposed national dialogue and it should not end or concentrate on us alone.
We have the church, the youths, women, the disabled, the businesses community, non-governmental organisations and even the diplomatic community who all have to contribute their input as we develop an inclusive dialogue.
I have been attending the meetings with Mngangwa so far and what we are still working on is a framework to the dialogue; the dialogue hasn’t started yet. But time is not on our side!
The national dialogue in my opinion should be well structured and possibly have a secretariat running its activities every day. Like I said politicians are just but a fraction of the whole dialogue.
In any dialogue of this nature there is need to put time frames to the talks and we should be able to have targets and measure our success.
The call for a neutral mediator is quite a crucial aspect to the success of any such dialogue and you want to have someone of international standing; hence the lessons learnt when we had our first Government of National Unity which brought Zanu PF leaders and MDC leaders together resulting in a power sharing arrangement.
That dialogue was a result of constant, painful negotiation with a full secretarial running around to make sure things worked.
The president may as of now lead us as politicians on working a framework to the talks, but the national dialogue involving all stakeholders has to have an independent chair because Mnangagwa is an interested party. As Dop we think ultimately after all the negotiations and dialogue the resultant government must be controlled by a broad representative of all significant parties.
The new government system should be based on proportionality, especially with regards the political parties and other stakeholders’ representations. We would also recommend that all political parties no matter how minor or insignificant must have veto power concerning issues of vital and fundamental importance.
Judging from other countries that have adopted coalition based governments, the compromise and co-operation inherent to governing through sharing power has helped power their societies to prosperity. Over the past 10 years, coalition governments have become the norm throughout Europe and Germany is a good example of how effective a coalition government can be in overcoming divisions and creating shared prosperity.
The coalition’s first task is to regain international investors’ confidence, hence capitalising on the international goodwill which would have been generated by a change of government.
The next step would be to improve skills development; introduce a countrywide apprenticeship programme that trains young people emerging from school to become mechanics, plumbers, boilermakers and electricians.
We need to invest in technical colleges, including teacher and nursing training colleges which would incorporate compulsory apprenticeship programmes designed to stream line the transtion into employment.
We also need to improve on our human rights record, observe rule of law and Constitution. In order for the coalition to be successful and stay in power, all members of the coalition government must retain the respect of voters by working together. Political parties would need to compromise on an agreed manifesto in order to achieve the best possible outcome under any given coalition arrangement.