by Emmanuel Murema
The New Dispensation is engrossed with the ever growing malcontented youths, coupled with exasperated civil society owing to the perceived economic meltdown.
This disgruntlement has manifested in increased call for demonstrations and stay ways. The Afro-radical approach, which fashioned the early 2000 politics literally led to international disengagement (by the West) compounded by the illegally imposed sanctions. This international disengagement had ripple effects in local disengagement with most young people viewing the ruling ZANU PF nationalist project of anti-neoliberal fundamentalist approach as only a means by which political and economic participation was to be reserved for a class or those connected to the class, which was defined by a specific deathless discourse.
Unemployment rate skyrocketed "spontaneously," the youth felt left out, marginalized, neglected, disregarded and perhaps their voice substituted by the popular rural electorate. This made it somewhat difficult for them to express their abhorrence of the Mugabe administration, until perhaps 2008, but to no effect owing to the 50 plus 1 vote, which downplayed their effort and the rest is history till the Global Political Agreement. The relationship of the youths and the Government has been acrimonious ever since the economic downturn.
Fast forward to 2017, the jubilations in the streets of Zimbabwe brought about hope, the mantras of; Zimbabwe is Open for Business, the voice of the people is the voice of God, Jobs Jobs Jobs, etc becomes a household language. The new President opened the right floodgates, wrinkled faces developed dimples, the engagement and re-engagement policy and investment commitments awarded the Zimbabwean youth dreams.
The new President inherited a sinking ship, broken economy, corrupt system, public servants who had occupied offices through nepotism, thus most of them were incompetent and were used to a heterodox way of doing things. Sabotage was, is and remains the order of the day. Be that may, the opposition, which had hitherto celebrated the ascendancy of President Mnangagwa felt that the new administration was doing them a disservice. They felt an urgent need to return to the usual trenches; certainly a feeling of having been short changed compelled them.
Unfortunately, the right milldam was fueled with negative energy and here we are, a well-meaning agenda has turned rancid. How do we redeem ourselves from such multitudinous discordance? Surely fighting among ourselves will never yield results, dialogue is the opportune to see us through past the myriad conundrums.
Certainly, political parties form the core of the future of successful dialogue, but inclusivity of dialogue assures the indispensable of, and creation of avenues for sustainable peace, as such, the civil society cannot be left out. The church as an institution that houses people of varied political, social, cultural and economic ideologies should be the torchbearers of the restoration of relationships (anti-polarization). To guard against the risk of neglecting the zestful population (youth), the engagement and re-engagement should allow them into the corridors of dialogue. This will guarantee the inclusion of the interests of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (youths).
POLAD is howbeit an infrastructure that is meant for such engagement, re-engagement and exchange of ideas. Well-meaning Zimbabweans with a desire, and commitment to see our young people opening business, stopping the risk of crossing the crocodile infested Limpopo and chartering planes from all over the world, where they are scattered coming back to put a hand and drop knowledge towards becoming more than an Upper Middle Income Economy would not let an opportunity pass because of personal pride. There is no and will never be a force greater than peace, which will build a better Zimbabwe.
Peace is the ideal starting point
Emmanuel Murema is a Peace Advocate
Founder of the Great Zimbabwe and Conflict Management Initiative
Follow Twitter @manexmurema
WhatsApp 0779 269 856