Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa invites opposition leaders for talks, here’s what was discussed

More than 20 politicians who contested Zimbabwe’s presidential election were invited by president Emmerson Mnangagwa for a meeting. Source: Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa invites opposition leaders for talks, here’s what was discussed – CNBC Africa HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited opposition leaders to a meeting on Wednesday to draw up terms for a […]

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More than 20 politicians who contested Zimbabwe’s presidential election were invited by president Emmerson Mnangagwa for a meeting.

Source: Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa invites opposition leaders for talks, here’s what was discussed – CNBC Africa

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited opposition leaders to a meeting on Wednesday to draw up terms for a national dialogue, they said, following a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

More than 20 politicians who contested July’s presidential election were invited, two of whom – Lovemore Madhuku and Noah Manyika – said they would attend. It would be the first meeting between Mnangagwa and opponents since he took power from Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Manyika however said he believed conditions were not yet right for meaningful dialogue, which could only happen if hundreds of people detained during the crackdown were released and soldiers withdrawn from streets and checkpoints.

“It can only take place if, as the president promised upon his return from his overseas trip, the heads of those who have been responsible for brutalising citizens roll,” Manyika said.

On Tuesday, a nationwide strike by public sector teachers for better pay got off to a patchy start, as some stayed at home while others attended school but did not teach amid fears of further intimidation.

The president hiked fuel costs by 150 percent last month and immediately travelled abroad, triggering unrest that drew a violent response from security forces and eventually persuaded him to cut short his foreign tour.

On his return home, Mnangagwa promised action against brutality by police and troops and called for a national dialogue.

There was no immediate comment on Tuesday’s invitation from Mnangagwa or his spokesman.

Nelson Chamisa, who heads the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and who counts Manyika among his allies, could not be reached for comment.

The MDC believes Zimbabwe is reverting to the authoritarian rule that characterised the regime of long-time leader Mugabe, and says the election that confirmed Mnangagwa as president in July was rigged, an allegation the judiciary rejected.

‘REPORT ALL INTIMIDATION’

The southern African nation is mired in an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation and shortages of cash, fuel and medicines.

Many government workers are demanding wage rises and payments in dollars to compensate.

On Tuesday the striking Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the biggest teaching union, said most of its members had stayed at home but that security agents had gone to some schools taking details of absent teachers.

The union accused authorities of spreading fake news to discourage teachers from going on strike after state media reported that the stoppage had been called off.

“Report all forms of intimidation, we are building a dossier of such,” ZIMTA said in a notice to members.

Cabinet ministers declined to answer questions on the strike at a media briefing in Harare.

In schools around the centre of the capital, most teachers appeared to have turned up for work, but some were not taking lessons, witnesses said.

In a classroom at a primary school in Harare’s Mbare township, a Reuters photographer saw one teacher eating from her lunch box in class while pupils sat quietly.

Zimbabwe has more than 100,000 public-sector teachers.

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Zimbabwe Wetlands Construction Triggers Environmental Worries

Conservation groups warn the trend threatens the management of underground water and the availability of the resource in general Source: Zimbabwe Wetlands Construction Triggers Environmental Worries – VOA HARARE — In Zimbabwe, migration from rural to urban areas has created a demand for housing, leading to construction on wetlands, and concerns about the environment and water […]

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Conservation groups warn the trend threatens the management of underground water and the availability of the resource in general

Source: Zimbabwe Wetlands Construction Triggers Environmental Worries – VOA

In Zimbabwe, migration from rural to urban areas has created a demand for housing, leading to construction on wetlands, and concerns about the environment and water supplies.

Conservation groups warn that the invasion of the country’s wetlands for infrastructure development and stream bank cultivation in urban areas threatens the management of underground water and the availability of the resource. They say the problem has been exacerbated by people moving from rural to urban areas.

Harare authorities say they will soon start water rationing because of low levels, thus exposing residents to water-borne diseases such as cholera, as some residents might turn to unsafe water sources.
Harare authorities say they will soon start water rationing because of low levels, thus exposing residents to water-borne diseases such as cholera, as some residents might turn to unsafe water sources.

Those people include Zivai Muchichwe, a father of three. Muchichwe says he built his home on a wetland three years ago as Harare battled to contain the migration from the rural parts of the country. Now, he says part of the dwelling has cracked and collapsed.

Zivai Muchichwe built his home on a wetland three years ago as Harare battled to contain a migration from rural parts of Zimbabwe.
Zivai Muchichwe built his home on a wetland three years ago as Harare battled to contain a migration from rural parts of Zimbabwe.

Muchichwe says he is waiting for authorities to tell him whether he will be there permanently as the structure needs to be reinforced. He says it was built hurriedly with cheap material and because of the location, the problem of water underground exists. “We thought we would be here for just a year,” he said.

Harare authorities say they will soon start water rationing because of low levels.

Dorothy Wakeling of the conservation group Harare Wetlands Trust says she was not surprised by the announcement. She says people are disturbing wetlands which are supposed to be gradually releasing water into the city’s water bodies.

Dorothy Wakeling of the conservation group Harare Wetlands Trust says people are disturbing wetlands which are supposed to be gradually releasing water into the city’s water bodies.
Dorothy Wakeling of the conservation group Harare Wetlands Trust says people are disturbing wetlands which are supposed to be gradually releasing water into the city’s water bodies.

“If you don’t have this and you have monoculture (the cultivation of a single crop in a given area), all you have is run-off. And you have lost the opportunity to get water into the ground which is so laid out by nature. It’s not there by mistake. And we are discarding it for buildings when that is the way we get our water; we can’t make water come any other way,” Wakeling said.

The group says it hopes that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government does not allow construction on the Monavale wetland which it says holds water for most Harare water bodies.

Steady Kangata from Zimbabwe’s environmental agency says the agency is working to ensure any disturbance of wetlands and stream banks is minimal.

Steady Kangata from Zimbabwe's Environmental Management Agency says the government-appointed body is working to ensure any disturbance of wetlands and stream banks is minimal.
Steady Kangata from Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency says the government-appointed body is working to ensure any disturbance of wetlands and stream banks is minimal.

“We must not be selfish when it comes to the environment. We are urging anyone who would want to do any form of construction to ascertain the nature and status of the piece of land they want to undertake their development…. The entire world…is about a green economy, the economy of the environment, where the environment is the pinnacle of any economy and we should mainstream environmental issues in anything we do,” Kangata said.

For now, Muchichwe’s family and neighbors remain uncertain as to whether they will have a place to stay. Given that the rainy season is not set to end until about late March, they might be sleeping on wet floors.

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Zimbabwe makes Venice Biennale selections amid political turmoil

Source: Zimbabwe makes Venice Biennale selections amid political turmoil | The Art Newspaper Cosmos Shiridzinomwa and Georgina Maxim are the first artists to be confirmed Dying Faculties by Cosmos Shiridzinomwa, one of the artists to represent Zimbabwe in Venice Photo: Tim cornwell Against a backdrop of rising economic and political turmoil, Zimbabwe has selected a group […]

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Source: Zimbabwe makes Venice Biennale selections amid political turmoil | The Art Newspaper

Cosmos Shiridzinomwa and Georgina Maxim are the first artists to be confirmed

Dying Faculties by Cosmos Shiridzinomwa, one of the artists to represent Zimbabwe in Venice

Dying Faculties by Cosmos Shiridzinomwa, one of the artists to represent Zimbabwe in Venice Photo: Tim cornwell

Against a backdrop of rising economic and political turmoil, Zimbabwe has selected a group of artists to represent the country at this year’s Venice Biennale. Cosmos Shiridzinomwa and Georgina Maxim are the first to be confirmed.

In January, a dramatic increase in petrol prices announced by Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa saw widespread anti-government protests. A violent crackdown by authorities followed, with social media and internet servers shut down. The upheaval has already delayed plans for a new biennial in the country’s second city of Bulawayo.

Several of Shiridzinomwa’s works are currently on show at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town, in an exhibition of Zimbabwean art titled Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era (until 31 March). In the show, his works include Dying Faculties (2006), depicting a man with his head in his hands in what is presumably an HIV/Aids ward, and Mugabe’s Closet (2008), where an open door shows a well-worn jacket hanging over a pile of books and a human skull peeking out from underneath. A museum label describes the work as “a metaphor for politically sensitive matters that in the past could not be expressed openly”.

His work has been 99% political in the past, Shiridzinomwa says, and he expects that to be reflected in Venice. “I hope to show new work because there is so much that has happened of late,” he says. “I have ideas that I will turn into paintings about the situation on the ground, especially the politics.” Of the current crisis he says: “It’s tough. What happened over the past few weeks, the protests and the looting, the burning down of shops, the destruction of property, the army and the police going into people’s houses and taking them, it’s a bit tense. They are trying to fight fire with fire, and it doesn’t work.”

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Extremely happy Thokozani Khupe and Lovemore Madhuku had this to say after attending State House meeting

Political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections yesterday met at State House in Harare and committed themselves to the principle of dialogue and working together to resolve the challenges facing the coun…

Political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections yesterday met at State House in Harare and committed themselves to the principle of dialogue and working together to resolve the challenges facing the country. Out of the 23 parties that fielded presidential candidates in the internationally-observed harmonised elections, 21 were represented. […]

Parly seeks industry revival

Source: Parly seeks industry revival | Herald (Business) Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce has begun visiting the country’s manufacturing sector to appreciate the challenges it contends with, so as to prod Government to intervene with matching solutions. This was said by the Portfolio Committee’s chairperson Mr Joshua […]

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Source: Parly seeks industry revival | Herald (Business)

Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce has begun visiting the country’s manufacturing sector to appreciate the challenges it contends with, so as to prod Government to intervene with matching solutions.

This was said by the Portfolio Committee’s chairperson Mr Joshua Sacco in an interview with The Herald Business in Harare yesterday after touring Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited (DZL)’s Rekayi Tangwena plant.

The initiative comes at a time when the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is also touring companies that were destroyed and/ or looted during the January 14 to 16 violent demonstration instigated by the MDC Alliance and its partners in the NGO and civic sectors, to establish the quantum of assistance required by the affected firms so that they can be capacitated.

Mr Sacco said the Portfolio Committee’s tours will start by focusing on the food industry, before being extended to other sectors.

Said Mr Sacco: “As the Committee on Industry and Commerce, we have resolved to visit industries in different sectors. So we have started with the food industry, we have done Dairibord today, just to understand the challenges and the direction which they are going and how Government can also come in to facilitate an environment which is conducive for them especially around issues of producing local products in Zimbabwe.

“We are very proud of Dairibord as a Zimbabwean company so I am happy to say at least we are happy with what we have seen and I think it’s now issues around the value chain, improving the supply of the raw materials, which is milk in this case. So the industry can definitely expand.”

DZL chief executive officer Anthony Mandiwanza, told the parliamentarians that the company, which has a market capitalisation of $62 million, is being hampered by a number of challenges principally the decline in national milk production.

Due to the shortage of milk, a key raw material for their business, DZL has mothballed operations at its Bulawayo, Gweru and Kadoma plants, while the Chitungwiza plant has moved to making maheu.

Milk production sharply declined from 260 million litres in 1999 to 39 million litres in 2009.

Said Mr Mandiwanza: “By the year 2008 into 2009, milk production had dropped from the peak of 260 million litres to 39 million litres.

“Thank goodness that we as Dairibord Zimbabwe had developed our footprint into the areas of food and beverages, so we survived.”

Worryingly, milk production declined at a time when the sector had been deregulated, and now boasts of over 15 players.

During the time of high production in the ‘90s, there were only two milk processors; Dairy Marketing Board (DMB) and Nestle Zimbabwe, with DMB consuming 90 percent of the milk.

Mr Mandiwanza said the diminishing milk production base comes against a backdrop of Government — previously a shareholder in DZL — having had invested significantly in infrastructure such as a brand new dairy in Bulawayo, a completely refurbished dairy plant in Gweru and a cheese making plant in Kadoma.

The new plant and equipment at the Harare plant was producing ice-cream, yoghurts; with the Chitungwiza plant having been designed for 300 000 litres of milk per day.

“We had massive excessive infrastructure against a diminishing milk supply base, to the extent that the national milk production had dropped to 39 million litre by 2009, and with many others having come on board.

“So, today as we are talking, there are only two major processors who have remained on two feet (and) the demand for milk as at last year is 120 million litres (per annum) and the supply side is 70 million litres, which means a deficit of 50 million litres.

“Now, when you have a deficit of 50 million litres, you ought to ask the question, ‘so what is happening between the demand and the supply?’” said Mr Mandiwanza.

He said the industry has been furiously importing powder and butter into the country at a cost of $7 million a month.

“This is a very important issue for your Committee . . . which then speaks about the competitiveness of that industry going forward.

“When you have a demand or supply gap that is being plugged by importation of powdered milk, it means the country is consuming foreign currency and yet you have got scarcity in foreign currency,” said Mr Mandiwanza.

The dairy sector is spending $7 million per month, which could be more given that some unregistered firms could be importing too, at a time the ability to export and earn in foreign currency has disappeared due to low milk production.

Mr Mandiwanza said foreign firms are sending their products to Zimbabwe due to the attractiveness of the US dollar, which when converted in other countries, fetches more.

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Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC snubs Mnangagwa talks, wants outside mediator 

Source: Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC snubs Mnangagwa talks, wants outside mediator | Reuters HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s main opposition on Wednesday snubbed talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa meant to try resolve a political and economic crisis, saying any dialogue with the president must be brokered by an independent outside mediator. Mnangagwa, who is under pressure over […]

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Source: Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC snubs Mnangagwa talks, wants outside mediator | Reuters

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives for talks with leaders of opposition parties in Harare, Zimbabwe, February 6, 2019, REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s main opposition on Wednesday snubbed talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa meant to try resolve a political and economic crisis, saying any dialogue with the president must be brokered by an independent outside mediator.

Mnangagwa, who is under pressure over the deteriorating economy and a crackdown on anti-government protests last month, invited 23 opposition leaders to a meeting to draw up terms for national dialogue.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said it would take part in the talks only if they were held under the supervision of the United Nations, African Union or regional bloc Southern African Development Community.

“The MDC’s position is that the dialogue process must be convened by an independent mediator and not one of the disputants,” the MDC said in a letter responding to Mnangagwa’s invitation to the talks.

The MDC has said Zimbabwe’s problems stemmed from last year’s presidential vote. Mnangagwa won but MDC accused his side of rigging the results, which he denies.

Joice Mujuru, an opposition leader and former vice president to Robert Mugabe, also did not attend the meeting although other smaller parties met Mnangagwa at state house offices in Harare.

In a speech before the talks, Mnangagwa said his opponents should accept his election win, and he urged them to call for the removal of U.S. sanctions on ruling party and government officials.

“Peace can never be imposed from outside but must issue from within our own society,” Mnangagwa said, in an apparent reference to the MDC demand for an outside mediator.

Zimbabwe has held disputed elections since 2000, which coincided with an economic recession, but in 2009 the ruling ZANU-PF party and the MDC formed a unity government, which ushered economic and political stability.

Last July’s vote, the first since Mugabe was forced to resign after a coup in 2017, was seen as an opportunity to pull Zimbabwe out of its diplomatic isolation and prompting an economic recovery. Instead, the vote left the nation polarised.

Rights groups and witnesses say armed men in police and army uniform have continued to make night raids at homes of opposition activists where they beat up occupants, a charge denied by security forces.

A video surfaced this week of a soldier beating women at a house in a Harare township while another man held a pistol and frogmarched three young men.

Army’s Major General Nyikayaramba told reporters that the army used proportionate force against protesters and that no one had reported rights abuses against the military.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO forum said on Wednesday that 17 people had died since the mid-January protests although police still insist three people were killed.

In Harare, a strike for better pay by public sector teachers entered its second day as some stayed at home while others attended school but did not teach, with unions accusing security agents of intimidation.

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Striking Zimbabwean teachers earn equivalent of just R700 a month

Teachers in Zimbabwe, who say their salaries are now so eroded they cannot afford to buy groceries or pay for school fees for their own children, are on the second day of a go-slow in protest against hyper-inflation. Source: Striking Zimbabwean teachers earn equivalent of just R700 a month – Times Live The call for […]

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Teachers in Zimbabwe, who say their salaries are now so eroded they cannot afford to buy groceries or pay for school fees for their own children, are on the second day of a go-slow in protest against hyper-inflation.

Source: Striking Zimbabwean teachers earn equivalent of just R700 a month – Times Live

The call for a nationwide teachers' strike in Zimbabwe has been met with mixed results. The country has 20,000 trained teachers currently out of work.

The call for a nationwide teachers’ strike in Zimbabwe has been met with mixed results. The country has 20,000 trained teachers currently out of work. 
Image: 123RF/Dglimages

 

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president Richard Gundane said the strike was the culmination of the government’s continued disregard of their welfare.

“This strike has nothing to do with political activities. This is confined to labour issues, industrial issues that come as a result of the salaries that have been eroded by inflation that was caused by the separation of the US dollar from the RTGS (real-time gross settlement), which denominates our salaries,” he said.

The main issue raised by the teachers is that their salaries have been eroded to $2.50 a day (roughly R700 a month) – not enough for a typical family to survive.

The industrial action’s effectiveness has been patchy. At both government- and church-run boarding schools across the country, some teachers stayed at home while others clocked in but didn’t attend classes.

Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said there had been a huge response to the call for industrial action, mostly in the southern parts of the country. “The response in Matabeleland (north and south) as well as Bulawayo sent a clear message. We see the strike gathering momentum in the coming days,” he said.

Only student teachers and temporary teachers reported for duty in these areas.

The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said teachers in rural areas were being intimidated, with roving Zanu-PF youths demanding names of teachers who didn’t turn up for work on Tuesday when the strike started.

“Youths and other political party functionaries are visiting schools and demanding names of teachers absent from schools,” said PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou.

The teachers’ strike found support from the public as some parents in some parts of the country did not send their children to school. “Some parents in Bulawayo went to withdraw their children from school, saying teachers were on strike,” said Bulawayo provincial education director Olicah Kaira.

In Harare, most teachers reported for duty but joined the go-slow – largely because the Apex Council, the main public sector workers’ union, is against the move by the two teachers’ representative bodies, the PTUZ and Zimta.

Apex Council leadership visited schools in the capital, begging teachers to keep discussions open. “We have been going around the schools to see if our members have heeded our call to give dialogue a chance and I can report that it was business as usual in our schools,” said organising secretary Charles Chinosengwa.

Meanwhile, the Public Service Commission (PSC) said the country had 20,000 trained teachers currently out of work. Some have not been employed since graduating up to six years ago.

However, there is also a shortage of at least 2,000 teachers in each of the country’s 10 provinces, ranging from early childhood development (ECD) up to advanced level, where there is a pressing shortage of mathematics and science teachers in particular.

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Chigumba is chief election fraudster: Komichi

Source: Chigumba is chief election fraudster: Komichi | Newsday (News) BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE MDC vice-president Morgan Komichi yesterday singled out Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba as the main elections fraudster and alleged that other commissioners were even surprised with the results she announced for the 2018 presidential election. Komichi, who was leading evidence […]

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Source: Chigumba is chief election fraudster: Komichi | Newsday (News)

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

MDC vice-president Morgan Komichi yesterday singled out Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba as the main elections fraudster and alleged that other commissioners were even surprised with the results she announced for the 2018 presidential election.

Komichi, who was leading evidence during cross-examination by his lawyer Obey Shava, told the court that as chief election agents of various political parties, they were in constant communication with Zec acting chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana.

But he alleged Chigumba was in another room at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) doctoring figures of the elections with the help of other people he described as “boys”.

“Our relationship with Zec had been okay in the past despite not approving their figures. We have been working well as chief election agents of MDC with the former Zec elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi, Justice George Chiweshe, Justice Rita Makarau and Silaigwana. When we had a problem, we would come to Zec and if we found them in a meeting, they would adjourn the meeting and attend to us in the past. We had a relationship of brothers,” Komichi said.

“But things started to change when Chigumba took over. She would tell us she is busy, especially to us MDC members. Even other commissioners like Silaigwana who were apprising us of the developments during the announcement of the results did not know the programme of events.

“Silaigwana honestly told us that the presidential results would be announced after verification was done and he took us to a room where there was a television. We were surprised when we came back in the announcement room and found Chigumba already announcing the presidential results. We waited for her to conclude and she announced her fake results of nine provinces and I did not interrupt her.”

Komichi said during the break, he then addressed the gathering, telling them to disregard the results because they were “fake”.

He insisted that what he did was not illegal because he waited for the commissioners to announce their fake results.

Komichi was asked by prosecutor Michael Reza what the court would do if someone from the gallery started shouting in court in the middle of proceedings. Komichi replied that Reza’s example did not resemble what he did.

“Your Worship, there is a clear example where the prosecutor, Reza, was nearly choked by Tendai Biti in court during the adjournment of the case, and the newspapers reported of the incident. But Biti was never arrested because it was an adjournment. Your Worship was not in court, that’s why he was not arrested,” Komichi responded.

He said he was vindicated that Zec was announcing fake results after the body announced three different sets of presidential results after the incident.

Four witnesses testified in the case and the State closed its case, but the court dismissed Komichi’s application for discharge, saying he had a case to answer and must be put to his defence.

Komichi is expected to call his witnesses.

The post Chigumba is chief election fraudster: Komichi appeared first on NewsDay Zimbabwe.

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The nation talks 

Source: The nation talks | The Herald February 7, 2019 UNITED WE STAND . . . President Mnangagwa (wearing scarf) poses for a group photograph with some leaders of opposition political parties that contested the July 3o, 2018 presidential elections after a meeting to come up with a framework for national dialogue at State House […]

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Source: The nation talks | The Herald February 7, 2019

The nation talksUNITED WE STAND . . . President Mnangagwa (wearing scarf) poses for a group photograph with some leaders of opposition political parties that contested the July 3o, 2018 presidential elections after a meeting to come up with a framework for national dialogue at State House in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections yesterday met at State House in Harare and committed themselves to the principle of dialogue and working together to resolve challenges facing the country.

Out of 23 parties that fielded presidential candidates in the internationally-observed harmonised elections, 21 were represented.

Only MDC-Alliance — led by Mr Nelson Chamisa — and the Republican Party from Bulawayo failed to show up, confirming that Zimbabwe as a nation was ready to engage itself to solve a myriad problems it is facing.

The dialogue was part of an expansive berth that President Mnangagwa has given to engage all stakeholders, including the Church and civil society, to confront the national question.

And yesterday, the President described the occasion as historic as it affirmed political maturity among Zimbabweans.

The parties agreed that there should be no precondition for dialogue and that there should be no sacred issues during the discussions.

Further, it was agreed that both political and economic reforms should be implemented while politically-motivated violence should be shunned.

Other salient issues such as the continued imposition of sanctions on the country by the West rallied the Zimbabwean leaders.

Four committees were set up, with the first one focusing on the institutional framework of the dialogue, while the second would deal with the agenda items for the dialogue.

The third committee was going to determine the convenor of the dialogue, while the fourth one would be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the agreed issues.

Welcoming participants, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans had the right to chart their destiny with outsiders only coming in to assist.

He said he invited other parties to a national dialogue in fulfilment of his pledge during his inauguration that he would engage and consult fellow presidential aspirants on ways to move the country forward.

“We owe it to ourselves as Zimbabweans to raise our country higher up the pecking order of nations,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Outsiders can only come in to assist us but the prime responsibility for our country’s development remains ours. This is what sovereignty means. Moreover, true peace can never be imposed from outside, but must come from within our own society, and can be nurtured by us on the seedbed of dialogue, honesty and mutual respect. It is my hope that this inaugural dialogue by our political parties will provide a firm foundation upon which together and without undue foreign interference, we can build the Zimbabwe we all want.”

President Mnangagwa said no individual had a monopoly over ideas thus people should close ranks as Zimbabweans and unite towards the common goal of developing the country.

Commenting on how the dialogue should proceed, President Mnangagwa said all parties should accept the results of the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections as a legitimate expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

He said all political parties should take a stand against the illegal sanctions imposed on the country and the call for their removal should be an all-party affair.

Said President Mnangagwa: “With unity at home and successful re-engagement abroad, Zimbabwe is an attractive destination for domestic and foreign direct investment. Admittedly, there are key reforms which we need to embark upon, which is where all of us come in to proffer ideas both for reforms and to make ourselves more attractive for investment. I challenge all of us to come up with ideas that can take our country forward. As leaders of our political parties, our gathering together today is a milestone, which should always remind us of the supremacy of dialogue over conflict and of collaboration over confrontation, as instruments for nation building, As for me, I sincerely look forward to the sage advice and healthy exchange of views from all of you brothers and sisters.”

After the meeting, which lasted several hours, President Mnangagwa said: “I think this interaction or consultation between the leaders of the political parties which participated in the 2018 harmonised elections was overdue. I am sure you listened as I explained at the beginning the consummation of this meeting. However I am happy that we have been able to come together as Zimbabwean political parties to discuss issues affecting our country in particular in the area of the economy, reforms, political and economic reforms and various views on how political party leaders think we should move forward. I am happy that we have come to the conclusion that we need to further come together and interrogate how as a people, as a country can move forward in unity and in peace. Many negative issues have been raised which the political parties would want addressed. I am happy that there was democratic space for every single leader of political parties that have attended to express themselves openly and freely. This is what it should be. I believe that with this beginning we should as we go forward find each other and chart a common course for our country to move together.

President Mnangagwa said he invited all political parties that participated in last year’s elections and those who chose not to attend were exercising their democratic right.

MDC-T leader Ms Thokozani Khupe said: “We must pride ourselves as a country because of the fact that we have managed to come together as opposition parties and the ruling party to chart the way forward in regards to our country and our economy. We are saying we must put our differences aside as political parties and come together so that we talk about moving our country forward. We want a better life for every Zimbabwean. The people of Zimbabwe want food on their tables, they want jobs, they want houses and they want good health and education. We agreed as political parties that we are going dialogue as political parties around these issues so that we find permanent solutions to the problems bedevilling our country.

National Constitutional Assembly leader Professor Lovemore Maduku said: “The purpose of today’s meeting was really to find each other. We are Zimbabweans and as Zimbabweans there can be no harm in meeting from time to time discussing issues we face as a country. The most important issue is to raise the standard of living of our people. As opposition political parties we have a contribution to make as Government has also a contribution to make.”

Chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Justice Selo Nare moderated yesterday’s meeting.

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Army boss Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba reveals who killed citizens during fuel protests

The military yesterday alleged that protesters broke into police armouries and stole guns which they used to kill citizens, including a police officer, during last month’s national shutdown that turned violent. Addressing journalists in Harare yesterda…

The military yesterday alleged that protesters broke into police armouries and stole guns which they used to kill citizens, including a police officer, during last month’s national shutdown that turned violent. Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Chief of Staff, Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba distanced the military from the shootings. He, however, justified […]