Church says ‘it’s time for Zimbabwe to come together’

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WITH the country and its two major political parties – Zanu-PF and the MDC – continuing to contend with serious challenges, the church has renewed its calls for all Zimbabweans to come together in the national interest.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the concerned clerics said it was particularly important for Zanu-PF and the opposition to heal their decades-old political rifts, if Zimbabwe’s myriad crises were ever to be overcome.

This comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa has emphasised that he will not seek outside help to foster national dialogue with the opposition and other key stakeholders in the country

It also comes as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ruling African National Congress (ANC) have been attempting to assist Zimbabwe to end its decades-long political and economic crises.

“It is crucial that as Zimbabweans we own our challenges and solutions. The outside world should only support local efforts.

“People are free to ask for help, but every crisis or challenging episode of nations takes deep internal cohesion … for outside help to be sustainable.

“Thus, it is important that we find each other first … outsiders simply want quick outcomes and often they impose decisions and outcomes which are only temporary,” the general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), Blessings Makwara, told the Daily News.

The secretary general of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Kenneth Mtata, also said the onus on finding a lasting solution to the country’s woes lay with Zimbabweans.

“Zimbabweans must collectively find consensus on problem definition, possible solutions and mutually acceptable processes towards realising those solutions.

“Neighbours, including South Africa, can only provide much needed regional, continental and global solidarity,” Mtata told the Daily News.

“Solidarity doesn’t replace local agency. “Remember Steve Biko’s advice to the liberal white supporters during the struggle against apartheid.

“Always remember that the one who liberates you will seek to have a stake over your freedom. “We are still struggling to show that we all contributed to the liberation struggle as others want to monopolise it.

We must be our own liberators and it starts in the mind,” Mtata further told the Daily News.

On their part, political analysts said the much-needed national dialogue would only be possible with a convergence of minds among local politicians and citizens.

“We are failing to recognise that we are all Zimbabweans and that we all have a stake in the prosperity, development, peace and security of the country.

“We need to find each and we are our own liberators. We fought to liberate the country in 1980. Let’s find solutions to our problems.

“We need internal solutions for our internal problems, which must involve all stakeholders, including
churches, civil society and business,” University of Zimbabwe politics expert, Eldred Masunungure, told the Daily News.

“They must search for solutions, but because it seems that the internal efforts are not yielding a result, this is why you see that some are putting their hopes on outsiders.

“Outsiders must come as facilitators to try and bring together conflicting parties. We need a muzukuru (mediator) to solve the Zimbabwe situation,” he added.

Another political analyst, Admire Mare, said Zimbabweans needed to agree that the country’s crises were worsening and now required unity of purpose to deal with them.

“The Zimbabwe crises will be solved by Zimbabweans when they decide to acknowledge that there are challenges which require frank and honest conversations.

“Outsiders will only assist them to find each other and will never impose their solutions. It will take home-grown dialogue underwritten by regional countries and bodies to address the crises at hand.

“The sooner we realise this the better, because political grandstanding and name-calling is further fuelling divisions, sowing seeds of mistrust and nurturing hopelessness among ordinary people,” Mare told the Daily News.

On Friday, Mnangagwa said he would not seek outside intervention to hold dialogue with the opposition and other interest groups.

Addressing a meeting of the Zanu-PF central committee in Harare, Mnangagwa also poohpoohed talk that there was a crisis in the country.

“This session comes against yet another crushing failure of machinations by our detractors on social media to reverse and destabilise the unity, peace, security and development milestone our party fought for.

“I applaud the people of Zimbabwe and leadership of the party for remaining resolute in defiance of the opposition’s regime change agenda and worrying levels of self-hate through a sustained call to make our country … ungovernable.

“The crisis exists in their mind, in their parties, in their bedrooms, not in Zimbabwe. We have challenges like any other country,” Mnangagwa thundered.

This also comes as Mnangagwa continues to insist that any dialogue with the opposition must be convened under the auspices of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).

Earlier this month, Mnangagwa also said the country’s deepening challenges required unity of purpose among all Zimbabweans.

Speaking at a Polad meeting, he said the door remained open for MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and others who had snubbed the platform to join him there and work together to deal with Zimbabwe’s problems.

“I wish to unequivocally state that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe as elections were held in July 2018 and a winner was declared in terms of the country’s constitution.

“All contestants were invited to join this dialogue in the national interest. The door is still open for those outside … Let me say the challenges facing our country call for continued unity of purpose across the political divide.

“Your continued commitment to the call to serve the country is acknowledged and will surely result in making our country great,” Mnangagwa said.

All this also comes as Zimbabwe is in the grip of a huge economic crisis – its worst in a decade, which has stirred anger and restlessness among longsuffering ordinary people.

So big are the local problems, that authorities have had several clashes with government critics who accuse the country’s leaders of failing to end the nation’s economic crisis and rampant public sector graft.

In July, authorities were forced to deploy security forces across the country to thwart mass demonstrations that had been called by the opposition and pro-democracy groups.

Rights groups have since claimed that dozens of opposition figures and activists have been tortured and assaulted in a retributive exercise by suspected security agents.

On its part, the government has refuted the allegations – claiming instead that the opposition is allegedly working with foreigners to destabilise the countrySource – dailynews

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