Zanu PF is for dialogue

Chigumbu Warikandwa

An all inclusive political dialogue is the latest war cry in town. As I sat writing this, the EU is sitting with at least four ministries in Zimbabwe, discussing political relations between Harare and Brussels. All the ministries are born out of a Zanu PF government. The EU is keen on rekindling lost love with Zimbabwe.

The current courtship is a clear indication that the Zanu PF led government is keen on bringing Zimbabwe back on the family of nations. It also means that the world is taking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-engage drive very seriously.

Away from international political dialogue, Zanu PF is well-represented by a two thirds majority in parliament to lead the national legislative discourse. Among the new dispensation's raft of reforms aimed at enriching democracy is legislative reform. This happens only in parliament and Zanu PF has never disappointed in this regard.

A number of Commissions seeking to establish sector specific issues and solve attendant problems arising therefrom are at work today. These commissions are talking to people so as to establish the people’s view on various issues and not what Zanu PF alone wants. The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is currently in session countrywide to discuss the Gukurahundi disturbances among other issues affecting the country's socio-political fabric. There are no sacred cows or labelled abominations which the Commission has flagged for avoidance in its discussions. President Mnangagwa broke tradition earlier this year by meeting with 66 Matabeleland civic organisations under the Matabeleland Collective where he assured them of his government's commitment to discuss the Gukurahundi issue with a view to bringing sustainable peace and healing for the affected communities.

The Land Commission is also out in the field leading discourse on matters of land where land barons are on notice. The information surrounding land tenure since 2005 is bringing out information from the people on the ground discussing real problems. It is a dialogue process between government and its people to establish their anxieties and formulate the requisite solutions.

The last quarter of 2018 saw the sitting of the Motlanthe Commission, which sought to probe what happened during the 1 August 2018 incident, speaking with ordinary people discussing events leading to the death of six civilians on the streets of Harare on that day. Again, in this process, the biggest contributors were from Zanu PF and government. Where either of the two was summoned by the Commission, they came and gave out information freely and in a constructive manner without trying to pin blame on anyone as did other witnesses especially those from the opposition.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) is always on its feet responding to issues under its purview. Its most important stakeholder is the ordinary citizen. The Commission knows that in the absence of such ordinary people it will cease to be a Commission. The Commission is there because of people and is working to champion a people's cause.

Now, enter the political dialogue between Zanu PF and its fellow political parties in the political gamesmanship, the majority of which are already on the table. They are not being pushed nor dragged. They voluntarily heeded President Mnangagwa’s call for dialogue. It is those that have voluntarily chosen not to belong to these talks that are shouting at the top of their voices about the absence of national political dialogue. Everything and everyone but them is present on the dialogue arena.

In a 22 member game of soccer, a player standing aloof in a basketball court has no moral authority to claim that that the referee has excluded him from the game of soccer. So it is with political players who are attempting to arm-twist the President into agreeing to talk with them with the view to nullify the 2018 harmonised elections and run fresh ones before 2023.

It is because of this that at Zimbabwe's political dialogue roundtable some chairs are empty. The missing occupants of the same chairs are the same people seeing the absence of dialogue because they, themselves, are absent.

The missing negotiators are busy attempting to drive the rest of the soccer team to come play soccer in the basketball court instead.

The dialogue absconders want the rules of the game of soccer to be replaced by basketball rules; in fact, they want to fire the referee without charge. They just have a dislike for the referee because of the colour of his uniform. They think everybody likes their uniform and that those who might dislike it have an obligation to like it.

Those opposed to the status quo think Zanu PF has no right to be and must be pushed back and forth to get into the scheme of their plan. Zanu PF is the author of the national government and has the people's mandate. Neglecting to protect the political contract signed between itself and the people will be a suicidal betrayal of trust that threatens its relationship with the same and jeopardizes its life.

Nobody can sign his own death certificate. Genuine negotiators should come out in the open. Any negotiator who wants negotiations in a dark corner has all the rules of unfair play in his bag and this should not be tolerated!