Military threatens dialogue - Zimbabwe Situation

Military threatens dialogue

Source: Military threatens dialogue | Newsday (News)

THE ongoing military crackdown on civilians following recent anti-governments protests has been cited as a major threat to efforts to bring President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to the negotiating table to resolve the current political and economic logjam.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Soldiers have been accused of unleashing a terror campaign on opposition activists and ordinary citizens countrywide, frustrating the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC)’s efforts to initiate dialogue.

The NPRC last week said it was working on the framework for dialogue that would bring together Mnangagwa, Chamisa, civic society organisations and other stakeholders in a bid to arrest the deteriorating situation in the country since last year’s controversial elections.

In a statement last week, the NPRC said it had conducted bilateral consultations with the goal of building consensus on the need for national dialogue and advised that it would soon invite sectoral representatives to jointly formulate the framework to guide the national dialogue process.

But the MDC yesterday said continued reports of harassment of civilians by the military could stifle the proposed talks.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said while his party was ready for talks, the failure by Mnangagwa to order the soldiers back to the barracks was a cause for concern.

“The gross human rights violations, targeting and decimating MDC is not conducive for dialogue,” Mwonzora said.

“So, clearly the government was not ready for dialogue. They are not genuine, but the MDC is ready, predicated of course upon a set of defined issues which benefit the people of Zimbabwe.”

But Zanu PF yesterday refused to comment on the demands by “other stakeholders”, advising the MDC to direct their concerns to organisers of the national dialogue.

“I don’t understand what they are talking about. The organisers are the ones who are inviting the people and the MDC people must speak to the organisers,” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, said.

Thulani Mswelanto, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director, described the military as the major power broker in Zimbabwean politics, adding it had vested interests.

“After mapping the power matrix in Zimbabwe, it is clear that the army is a major power broker that plunged the country into chaos by creating an illegitimate political order in 2017,” Mswelanto told NewsDay.

“The army is now seized with protecting and sustaining that order using coercion and violence. Dialogue will dislodge the army of its role in our politics because that dialogue must focus on timelines for key reforms that include security sector reforms, electoral reforms and creating a clear economic agenda that prioritises social protection.”

Human Rights Watch’s Southern Africa director Dewa Mavhinga said the military factor must be addressed because the army plays a key role in the country’s national politics.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) said they were together working with the NPRC to ensure that the proposed national dialogue was a success.

“If there is a crisis, it then makes the whole process even urgent. No one among the stakeholders will be seen pressured to do anything if things are static, but right now, the crisis makes it urgent,” ZCC general-secretary Reverend Kenneth Mtata said.

“We have successes of dialogue that were recorded in the past. We have had successful dialogue during the Gukurahundi era and we had the Unity Accord in 1987. In 2008, we had another crisis and because of dialogue, we had the Government of National Unity in 2009 and the national Constitution in 2013 as well. We have a record of successes, where we engage each other and that must encourage us.

“The conditions were worse in 1987. Currently, we are not in a position that prohibits us from talking. In 2008, the conditions were even worse.”

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    ryanlee 2 months ago

    well come to the real zimbabwe its taken a long time for the reality of who runs this country and how its going to be a painful next 100 years maybe just maybe generational change will be the key

  • comment-avatar
    Ndonga 2 months ago

    Let’s talk truth to power with bravery.
    Why do we really need an army of this size in Zimbabwe? We have no external military pressures or enemies of any description. So why are huge sums of money and resources being spent on keeping such a well-equipped and numerous military force?
    Is it not solely to keep reminding us that they gave us our freedom? And that we better not forget that.
    But on the same subject are these not the same sociopaths that bullied and trampled on us when they were supposed to be fighting for our freedom?
    If I remember my young days of that time all I can remember is these liberators coming and demanding and taking all what we had that was good. How often did we go hungry so that they could overfill themselves with our hard-earned food?
    What about the freedom of our sisters who were used and then discarded as rubbish? What about our parents who went to their graves crying about the damage these so-called liberators did to our families?
    Thugs then, and still thugs.
    So, to answer my first question. It’s to keep us all under their control by the use of extreme terror for ever. And Ed is too afraid and too cowardly to do anything about it…