Involve army in dialogue: Church

Source: Involve army in dialogue: Church | Newsday (News)

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

THE Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has urged government to include State security organs in its national dialogue sessions to ensure inclusivity in the process.

The call was made last week at a time when the clergy was pushing for a national convergence platform that seeks to bring together all political parties, civic society groups and other key stakeholders to input into a national vision to get the country out of the political and socio-economic quagmire.

“On the role of the security sector, there was a sense that they needed to be involved in such national engagement since the human security challenge is central to the issues at the national question,” the ZCC said.

“On the next steps, it was also clear that more work must be done to (a) increase buy-in and convince the key stakeholders to see this as an alternative route for Zimbabwe; (b) to build a trusting environment for such dialogue; (c) build groundswell among citizens as the main beneficiaries of the process,” a ZCC statement read.

“It was clear that a consensus environment was good for economic development, hence to the benefit of the ruling party.”

Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he is open to dialogue with his political rivals, including main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa (MDC Alliance) on condition they meet under the auspices of the Political Parties Dialogue and that the latter recognises his presidency. But Chamisa has rubbished the platform, insisting that any talks with Zanu PF should be anchored on Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

The main opposition has also called for security sector reforms.

However, Zanu PF has been resisting such calls, with exiled and former Higher Education minister, Jonathan Moyo saying the “party cannot reform itself out of power”.

The Solidarity Peace Trust in its recent research paper titled Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe: Prospects and Challenges argued that the historical dynamics in Zimbabwe, dating back to the armed struggle, made it difficult for authorities to agree on the issue of security sector reforms.

“It is clear that reform of the security sector in Zimbabwe should be an urgent national agenda item. However, while there are some important factors working in favour of that agenda, the challenges are quite debilitating, notably the legacy of the armed struggle that left the military with heavy political influence,” the Solidarity Peace Trust said.

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