HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s multi-party initiative for a national dialogue could soon reach a dead-end after three political parties withdrew citing lack of credibility among other reasons.
Sources who were present during the closed door meetings said some of the political parties were beginning voice concerns over the direction the talks were taking.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA)’s Daniel Shumba wrote on his Twitter handle soon after the meeting saying he had formally withdrawn from the National Dialogue process which he described as “insincere, choreographed, and highly compromised, with some political principals singing for their supper.”
“We disagree with the process, purpose, issues and level of engagement. Clearly, no outcomes can be expected from this facade.
“The process starts with a predetermined agenda even before agreeing on the moderator, issues, or milestones.
“It’s inconsequential and of no effect,” he said.
While many had hoped for a national dialogue facilitated by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), the organisation’s chairperson Selo Nare told this publication that the OPC was handling the dialogue.
With regards to the facilitator, Shumba added: “It (meeting) was presided over by a Nare (Selo Nare), who is clearly out of his depth, and following a Zanu PF script. They refuse to broaden the participation to include other stakeholders,” he added.
Some political parties who snubbed the meeting echoed Shumba’s sentiments questioning Mnangagwa’s model of dialogue which “fails the credibility test”.
In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (OPC) Misheck Sibanda, Build Zimbabwe Alliance leader Noah Manyika said: “No meaningful dialogue can happen without neutral and credible convener being agreed on to facilitate a broad and inclusive dialogue that will include trade unionists, political parties, civic groups and all stakeholders to ensure that the views and interests are represented.”
He added: “It is in my view that a dialogue without MDC Alliance and any other critical stakeholders … the (dialogue) will not pass credibility tests locally and globally and it is our collective responsibility and specifically that of our convener that would emerge from this process to ensure that everyone who needs to be at the table is included.”
While this could have been a significant development which could signal the beginning of fresh dialogue to normalise politics in Zimbabwe, another political party also slammed the door to dialogue.
People’s Progressive Party of Zimbabwe leader Timothy Chiguvare also wrote: “We regret to inform you that we will not be taking part in the national dialogue due to the position we have taken as a party and intend to make our position public very soon.”