Zimbabwe and the rest of the world applauded President Mnangagwa‘s call for an inclusive national dialogue among political stakeholders and civil leaders two weeks ago.
Wailfully, the latest report by a faith-based network, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), has indicated that the holder of the First Office has not made himself accessible to “OK” talks despite incessant endeavours by the organization to engage him.
Speaking during a ZCC luncheon, Ephraim Ngadziore, said efforts to reach the President were futile. The meeting was meant to update Parliament on the levels of poverty in Zimbabwe and map the way forward for dialogue on Thursday.
“We have been trying to engage President Emmerson Mnangagwa to initiate dialogue, but he has not been accessible to us,” said Ngadziore.
The councilman said the nation is burning with people living in dire poverty and stressed the need for MPs, in their parliamentary committees, to fight for better conditions of living for Zimbabweans.
“The nation is burning and you need to adjust salaries so that people can survive because their salaries are not enough.”
Elsewhere during the luncheon, other ZCC members bemoaned the serious economic hardships facing Zimbabweans, where over 80% of households are now believed to be earning less than $600 per month.
Most families, according to their findings, had turned to street-vending to supplement their incomes.
Taurai Emmanuel Maforo, who presented the report on behalf of ZCC Secretary-General Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, said most families were now forced into different coping strategies such as borrowing (32%), cutting food expenditures (29%), assistance from relatives and friends (25%), cutting health (9%) and cutting education (5%) expenditures.
“Many Zimbabweans are struggling to find jobs and 30, 7% indicated that they were formally employed, while about 65, 4% of households are in precarious employment,” the ZCC report said.
As the dialogue session opened up for MPs’ contributions, the Newsday reported that there was glaring evidence of polarisation between Zanu PF legislators and their MDC counterparts.
Meanwhile, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) announced yesterday that it has started work on the national dialogue aimed at addressing socio-economic challenges facing the country. The planning process kick-starts the process of convergence of various stakeholders, among them churches, academia, business, arts, culture and civil society.
NPRC chairperson Retired Justice Selo Nare told members of the press that they held a meeting to develop a framework for a comprehensive dialogue.
He said the recent events in the country forced them to move with speed.
“While the NPRC has set the creation for dialogue platforms as a key activity in its strategic plan, the events of the past few weeks have made it imperative to move with speed to create a space for national conversations towards social, economic and political transformation,” Rtd Nare said.
The recent comments by NPRC registered a development in the right direction as earlier this week the independent commission had said the ongoing military crackdown on civilians following the January protests were threatening efforts at Inclusive National Dialogue.
State security has been accused of unleashing a terror campaign on opposition activists and ordinary citizens countrywide, frustrating NPRC’s efforts to initiate dialogue.
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