BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for engagement between the rival political parties in the country including civic organisations to end the current political stalemate.
This was said by ZCTU president Peter Mutasa in his discussion paper titled Elusive Political, Electoral and Economic Reforms in Zimbabwe at the Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe, where he stated that national dialogue was not an event, but a continuous engagement process.
Mutasa described Zimbabwe as a failed State with a government that has lost legitimacy in the “eyes and hearts” of the majority of its citizens, which means that national dialogue can be one of the solutions, though not an exclusive one to the crisis.
“While I believe that national dialogue is inevitable, it is not an event, it has been happening since 1980 and even beyond that if we take the prior independence epoch into account. Dialogue takes many forms, including a formal set-up that appears to be the focus currently,” Mutasa said.
“It, however, can also take different forms like mass action, protests, petitions, legal challenges, boycotts, open letters, and many other forms of expressions. The State’s response to these must also be regarded as part of the broad national dialogue process.”
He said if the Constitution was not adhered to, it would be difficult for the same people who ignored it to comply with the outcomes of dialogue.
“The ruling kleptocrats are powerful and are using the whole armoury of the State. This class is also benefiting a lot through patronage, corruption, State capture and cartels and rents. It sees no reason for it to lose the massive benefits through a dialogue with people that are battered and already submissive. That is only logical and from experience, the ruling classes have never voluntarily reformed themselves out of power and risk everything just to please the exploited classes,” Mutasa said.
He added that citizens, labour and political social movements were all weakened, fragmented, infiltrated, and some co-opted and others coerced into submission.
“Successive years of State attacks and brutalities against any form of dissent have to an extent decimated the once robust, mobilised collective movements and communities,” he said.
“The militarisation of the State, push for one-party State agenda and weaponisation of COVID-19 has led to suspension of all important constitutional rights. Freedom of association, assembly and speech to mention a few have been suspended. There is a powerful and invisible martial law in operation.”
The ZCTU leader said all progressive forces in the country should mobilise outside the State sphere and build an active citizenry that effectively exercises its agency as class collaboration was unavoidable.