via No smear campaign will deter me: Bakare – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 17, 2015
THE convener of National Convergence Platform (NCP), retired Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare, has said no smear campaign will deter progress made in bringing Zimbabweans together to deal with the country’s problems.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
State media accused Bakare of playing a “go-between” role on behalf the United States embassy to bring MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru to the negotiating table and form a pact.
However, Bakare distanced himself from the allegations, saying preparations for the platform, set for October 24, were at an advanced stage.
“In as far as NCP is concerned, I stand by what I said in our concept paper, that NCP remains non-partisan, and that NCP will invite everybody who is concerned at the meltdown of our economy, including all political parties, with no special treatment extended to any,” he said.
“In short, such kind of maliciousness comes from those who are benefiting from the system that has denied Zimbabweans a peaceful and happy life.”
He added: “To associate me with the American Embassy, which I know may not have a very good rapport or relationship with the government, is trying to say to the nation: ‘This is your bishop associating himself with the enemy of the nation’. I resent this to the very core of my being.”
Bakare called on Zimbabweans to attend the convention, saying even if there was a low turnout, the discussion would bring alternatives to the collapsing economy and the country’s other problems.
The clergyman said he was worried that he was now being labelled a sell-out yet he did a lot during the liberation struggle by mobilising resources, including an ambulance.
Bakare said he had never met Mujuru as alleged, maintaining the allegations were malicious.
He defended the convergence as a non-partisan gathering genuinely seeking to bring Zimbabwe out of its problems.
“I unequivocally deny this. I have never met former Vice-President Joice Mujuru in person and I do not think she knows me. I have never spoken to her over the phone or had any form of communication with her to date.”