Dialogue: Panacea to the Zimbabwe Crisis? (Thinking Beyond: March 2019)

Editorial

As Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political environment continues to deteriorate, there are increasing calls for a broad-based and inclusive National Dialogue to rescue Zimbabwe from the precipice and avert its implosion.

The crescendo in the calls for dialogue among all the national stakeholders come in the wake of an increasingly restless citizenry struggling to make ends meet resulting in the violent protests, demonstrations and lootings that tore the country in August 2018 and this year in January.

Regrettably, lives were lost as the army was deployed to quell the demonstrations, sparking local, regional and international outrage on the disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians by security personnel.

This also comes on the backdrop of the findings and recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry into the August 2018 killings of six civilians of which the army was blamed for the deaths.

These unfolding events, notwithstanding the stalled pace of the envisaged economic and political reforms and the disputed 2018 presidential elections outcome, have placed Zimbabwe at the crossroads hence the increasing calls for genuine national dialogue.

Our theme for this edition of Thinking Beyond – Dialogue: Panacea to the Zimbabwean Crisis? seeks to generate ideas and debate on the shape, form, content, course and actions the envisaged dialogue should take.

Zimbabwe and her people envisage a leadership that is responsive to the country’s desperate plight for socio-economic and political stability critical to leapfrogging the country into a durable and sustainable orbit of prosperity and development. It is deplorable to note that the country has never gone for more than a decade without plunging into strife, which has stifled development and its ability to fend for its own citizens.

Suffice to note that the country has great potential to unlock development and economic growth, through visionary leadership. A leadership which sees beyond narrow personal gains and is subservient to the ethos of servant leadership to deliver the country from the current yoke of poverty, unemployment, biting economic crisis, run-away inflation and failing industry.

Zimbabwe has a health mix of minerals, fertile lands for agriculture, conducive climatic environment that lures tourists from across the globe coupled with a culture of hard working citizens which are critical ingredients for successful economies.

However, there is a glaring deficiency in leadership that is catalytic in pulling the feuding stakeholders to the negotiation table and write a new narrative for the country.

Without visionary leadership, Zimbabwe will remain barren, living far beneath its potential as the ruling elite line up and stampede to deep their fingers into the national treasury at a time when children and expecting mothers are dying in hospitals due to lack of medication.

Zimbabwe should rise beyond the petty polity of personalities and kick-start a genuine national dialogue process that takes the country forward.

While the views and opinions expressed in this edition do not reflect the position of the publishers of Thinking Beyond, in their articles contributors to this edition, proffer their ideas on issues critical to the dialogue such as:

  • Setting the agenda: what are the issues and why they should be subjected to national discourse.
  • Who are the key players/stakeholders and why?
  • How do you ensure inclusivity: who gets invited to the table.
  • Who should be entrusted with the mediation process and why.
  • The role of SADC, African Union, United Nations and the international community.
  • Conflict resolution: role and mandate of political parties, business, civic society, church/women’s groups, youths.
  • Lowering the political temperatures: the media and conflict sensitive journalism.
  • Gender and National Dialogue: The issues

In this edition:

  • Towards the National Transitional Authority
  • Dialogue: Goals and Outcomes
  • The Essence and Skills of Negotiations
  • All Parties Have a Stake
  • Inclusive Dialogue Panacea to Zimbabwe’s Crisis
  • Women’s Voices Matter
  • Is Zimbabwe Headed for Second GPA?
  • Let’s Tackle the Root Cause

Source: MISA Zimbabwe

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