Source: What happened to voice of the people? – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 22, 2019
When Zimbabwe was on the verge of political and economic collapse in 2007, it took the late former President Robert Mugabe and his long-time nemesis Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC, to dialogue the country’s way out of the mess.
The late protagonists dialogued with the mediation of South African Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and later Kgalema Motlanthe, making frequent visits to their neighbouring country to iron out the differences between Zimbabwe’s political players. As a result of South Africa’s mediation, with Sadc and the African Union as guarantors, Mugabe and Tsvangirai buried the hatchet and the results were there for all to see.
The dialogue paved way for the birth of the Government of National Unity, borne out of the Global Political Agreement that ushered in a new government with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and the five years that followed brought economic and political change. Ten years down the line, Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of collapse and indications are that as long as President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa continue to shadow box, the downward spiral will continue, and ordinary citizens have already started feeling the pain of the current stalemate.
Now that South Africa, through its Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor, has spoken on the need to end the political “antipathy” between Zimbabwe’s political rivals, Mnangagwa must be sincere, swallow his pride and shrug off hardliners in Zanu PF who are against dialogue and talk to Chamisa. While Mnangagwa and Chamisa have consistently spoken about dialogue — it has a different meaning to both of them. Citizens want them to talk to each other, period! Yet, one wonders why Mnangagwa prefers dialogue with political nonentities. Mnangagwa has not been clear whether he wants dialogue with Chamisa or not.
The MDC leader has spoken on the need for a Mnangagwa engagement. Chamisa has called for dialogue with a neutral mediator, not a tough call to Mnangagwa. The President through third parties has insisted there is no need for foreign mediation as the churches and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission are well equipped to do that.