An editorial from Dailynews has expressed the need for an urgent dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa amid the country’s worsening socio-political and economic situation.
The daily editorial piece, published on Monday, August 5, pointed out that “as the situation in Zimbabwe gets more desperate for ordinary citizens by the day, dialogue is urgently needed” between President Mnangagwa and Mr Chamisa.
For years now, Zimbabwe has been going through a dire economic crisis characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, foreign currency shortages, rising inflation, spiralling basic commodity prices, erosion of disposable incomes, power outages and low productivity.
Various reports are adamant that this economic crisis, which has continually deepened in 2019 amid currency volatility in the market, is intricately linked to the country’s long-standing political chaos.
Speaking at the Southern African Political Economic Series dialogue in Harare sometimes in June, International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative to Zimbabwe Patrick Imam pointed out that the crisis bedevilling the economy is tied to the country’s politics.
“The fundamental problem in Zimbabwe is political not economics. The economy reflects the underlying political problems. It is the same with currency. It is a symptom of the underlying problem, but it is not the problem itself. The underlying problem is the politics of the country,” Imam said.
As ordinary Zimbabweans, people want to try anything to make sure that their situation changes because now many people cannot afford anything and many people are suffering.
The deepening economic crisis has seen government employees threatening to down tools for salary adjustments pegged in the United States Dollars.
The few mitigatory measures that the government has introduced such as abandoning the multi-currency system and introducing the Zimbabwean dollar have not been in line with the increasing cost of living. If anything, it has led to a lack of trust and speculative behaviour among businesses.
Added to this, this is taking place against a background where the government has all but failed to deal with runaway prices of basic commodities while salaries of workers remain unadjusted.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said the economic crisis in Zimbabwe results from factionalism, centralisation of power, the conflation between the party and state and the culture of entitlement in the Zanu PF government. He said there were divisions within government over monetary and fiscal reforms amid growing militarisation of the state.
These and other indications clearly spell out a national a tragedy which all Zimbabwean citizens, including workers, the church, political parties and the Government among other stakeholders must unite to avert.
Heal Zimbabwe — a non-profit peace-building organisation which was established with a mission to prevent and transform conflicts in Zimbabwe focusing particularly on social justice and human rights protection — holds that if the government does not address the current economic crisis, the country might descend into an abyss of political turmoil.
The organisation has been among many other vocal bodies that have been calling for an urgent citizen-driven national dialogue to find long-lasting solutions to the obtaining dire economic situation and looming political turmoil in Zimbabwe.
“The current economic crisis and political circumstances in the country are ominous and puts the country on the verge of civil unrest. Both the Citizens and the Government of Zimbabwe will not benefit from the imminent civil unrest, hence the pressing need to convene inclusive national dialogue to avert the crisis,” said Heal Zimbabwe.
The call for dialogue, however, does not mean that things will automatically change but, it is a hope that many people have that if President Mnangagwa and Chamisa dialogue things might start looking up for the country, the Dailynews editor noted.
He compared the political and economic impasse that Zimbabwe is currently going through to that of 2008 when former President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai’s dialogue helped ease the mounting tension.
“Most of us remember when we got to a similar situation in 2008 when all things were skyrocketing and the money had no value, then-president Robert Mugabe and MDC leader the late Morgan Tsvangirai got engaged and a government of national unity was formed which relieved many Zimbabweans of the problems back then,” the piece juxtaposed.
The column went further to highlight that the reason why even churches and individuals are calling for this dialogue is with the hope that something can come out of it for the good of the country.
This week churches have launched a fresh bid to end the bickering between President Mnangagwa and Pastor Chamisa.
The fresh calls for dialogue come as tensions continue to rise in the country, over the worsening economic rot which has seen the nation lurching from one crisis to another.
“The nation finds itself in a paralysing complex of challenges that can only be effectively and sustainably resolved through a comprehensive and broad-based dialogue. As such, we call upon all Zimbabweans to support such a call which offers to unite Zimbabweans towards a peaceful, just and prosperous nation,” the umbrella Zimbabwe Council of Churches said at the weekend.
Zimbabwe Divine Destiny executive director Bishop Ancelimo Magaya also said, “now is the time” to demand dialogue, as the country hurtled towards an “implosion”.
The editorial went a notch challenging the church to go beyond making calls but facilitate this dialogue as it seems both parties are willing to dialogue but need someone to facilitate the process.
“that is the responsibility of the church,” the editor stated.
President Mnangagwa and Advocate Chamisa have been brawling for more than a year since last year’s hotly-disputed presidential poll — with the MDC leader refusing to recognise his rival’s victory which he claimed was achieved via devious means.
The opinion piece concludes with the editor emphasising that dialogue is needed urgently between the two parties for the country to hopefully, get out of this crisis, and that demonstration will not correct the economic challenges that people are facing but dialogue could go a long way in giving dignity to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans to the rest of the world.
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