Time to Talk – Zimbabweans Speak Out on National Dialogue

Last week, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Zimbabwe announced that it was moving ahead on its strategic objective to create dialogue platforms for Zimbabwe. We’ve heard a lot of talk about national dialogue recently, and it’s left us wondering exactly what that means, and what it would achieve? Seems the NPRC was wondering a similar thing. As they attempt to come up with a framework for dialogue platforms, the NPRC is discussing these questions:

  • Why are Zimbabweans not talking?
  • What are the key pillars of national dialogue?
  • Who should participate, how and at what level?
  • How should a dialogue process be structured?
  • What does a successful dialogue look like?

We invited our members to share their thoughts with us, so that people could hear from one another, and so that the NPRC could benefit from this input. Here is what our members had to say . . .

My name is Jaspa I am 36. In my view the point which must be agreed is that everybody must respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The legitimacy issue of the Presidency was contested through the ConCourt and the ruling was done so that one is not part of National Dialogue.

– Jaspa

Zimbabweans are not talking because they are afraid of being victimised and tortured. Zimbabweans are peace loving people so violence is not in their blood thus resort to silence.

The pillars of national dialogue should be honesty, sustainability, transparancy, inclusive and impartiality.

Politicians, traditional leaders, church leaders and the voice of the povo should be represented at the national level.

– Lisa female 35 Midlands

Dialogue should have a framework and needs to be between those people who have contribution to problems being faced dialogue should not be generalized because it will end up involving unnecessary elements of the arena.

Zimbabweans are not talking because we are highly polarized along lines of politics, race, ethnicity, status etcetera etcetera.

Safety is another issue. Can you safely point a finger at the President, army or CIO without facing retribution? Are the protection mechanisms for meaningful participation in this dialogue.

The key pillars of national dialogue are:

  • trust
  • honesty
  • transparency
  • truth
  • enforcement
  • autonomy
  • good will / public interest
  • follow up i.e in the absence of follow up action people see no reason to talk
  • accountability
  • redress which should be collective & rehabilitative in scope & practice
  • all inclusive & involving
  • impartial & non partisan but national in outlook and praxis

Participation: everyone should participate at all levels. A bottom up approach should be adopted & followed. Participation should be guided by the constitutional provisions on fundamental individual human rights such as free expression, dignity, association, thought etc

Structure: it should be structured in such a way that it addresses the national problems and or questions which in this case are the issues that divide us & also those that unite us. It should basically be open, free & unstructured in form. People should just talk their hearts out on the Zimbabwe they want. The problem with a structured dialogue is that it can give the powers that be space to sideline some of the key issues especially those believed to be sensitive or classified. Let it be without form initially, and then derive form/structure from the dialogue itself. The process has to be people-driven, and people-centred. You can’t go to the people with an agenda or discussion points where the whole process should be based on dialogue or rather ‘multilogue’. Dialogue mainly works with narrative memory. People should just caucus without any peculiar form.

A successful dialogue should end with truth, peace, reconciliation, transitional justice, victimhood, & reparations etc

And perhaps there are no national platforms from where we can dialogue. Lack of protection mechanisms following a dialogue is another! Whilst the legal framework is all there political will is absolutely absent.

I’m also worried about the composition of the NPRC itself. It doesn’t reflect a gvt that is ready for candid dialogue. One way or the other some if the commissioners were complicit or presided over some of the contentious issues requiring dialogue & I have misgivings if they will discharge their new mandate in a judicious manner.

My name is Prince, aged 34, based in Harare, male

Hallo Yes dialogue is critical at this juncture in Zimbabwe. It should come unconditionally.

1.) Might be due to lack of trust but also Zimbabweans might be talking but making use of the wrong channels of communication

2.) Key pillars include:
-Ensuring a good trusting relationship.
-Building for the future.
-Making sure expectations are met or at least show change.
-Show legitimate appreciation and the right courage to want to help.

3.) Everyone must be able to participate without any gender, social or ages discrimination

4.) It should be structured in a more understandable manner with includes having debates and also a guiding framework with representatives.

5.) A successful dialogue is well planned, has the right questions for the right people, has the right content and must also be kept simple for better understanding.

– Mitchelle, Female aged 22, Harare Province

Why Are Zimbabweans not talking
Who is listening?
Who is Zimbabwean?

I would firstly consider the above two questions to address why Zimbabweans aren’t talking.

Every platform for exchanging words has a motive and an expected outcome it also is a certain characteristic of talk that for the purest of all opinions one should embrace the voice of the other with an open mind: no ground rules, no curriculum

This then takes us back to our 2Questions


In my opinion, a national dialogue should/must embrace the diversity of its participants (this then seeks to answer Who is Zimbabwean.

there are issues to be discussed and addressed universally (everyone needs a home,needs food) but a 25 year old urban-based individual’s concern will have less uniformity with my 78 year old grandmother situated in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe.

Different experiences entail a different approach towards conflict transformation and peace building approach

“The smallest details do matter
A dialogue needs open mindedness

Key pillars of Dialogue
-open mindedness talk
-room for Learning,adjusting and Compromising
-non entity or political affiliation influence
-set Vision/agenda
-result based and time frame

who should participate
Voice diversity(many are the rainbow colors,the vibrant the beauty)
A dialogue should encompass every representative for every race,age,sex,profession,you name it.

What Does a successful dialogue look like?
An answer booklet towards peace building and reconciliation.
A combination of different minds producing brilliant ideas and having a universal plan for Action towards National development.

no nation can succeed without a common vision

Grace, Female, 26, Harare

Zimbabweans are not talking because there is no true audience to listen to their concerns. The key pillars of the dialogue are fair and even interface where all participants come together to map way forward, with no big brother mentality. Grassroot people should participate because they are the ones who are largely affected, close or better to how views for the constitution were captured. The dialogue process should start from the village, ward level, church level and move up the ladder. A successful dialogue should be based on conflict identification, reconciliation, peace and lastly allow people with different affiliations or beliefs to co-habit. A case for example, would be the rainbow nation. In as much as we try to move forward, we could employ the possibility of a win-win, or lose-lose situation if fairness is implored to the fullest paradigms.

Melissa, Female, 32, Harare

Zimbabweans are afraid of the unknown.

Key pillars are: Two way communication ethos. To and fro. Listening, rephrasing and contributing. Avoid defensive stances and accept constructive criticism.

Political parties, trade unions and churches should be involved at all levels. A neutral individual citizen or non citizen should chair the dialogue.

The dialogue should focus more on churches, local governments, trade unions and major political parties that represent voters, i.e, those political parties with seats not contestants they are just a useless liability to the dialogue overheads.

A successful dialogue has an impact on the affected socio economic environment within seven days from implementations of agreed steps.

– Richard, male, 40, Bulawayo

Zimbabweans are not talking because they are sick and tired of prevailing unsolved problems faced by Zimbabweans as a result of self centered regime which only focus on the satisfaction of their needs not community as a whole. Key pillars of dialogue is understanding, valuing other peoples ideas despite of their race and gender. The leaders and the majority should come up with solutions on the problems. When everyone air out his or her own views to have a progressive Zimbabwe. People should coordinate no discrimination.

Edlight, Female, 25, Masvingo Province

Thanks! National dialogue must be a public sphere not public’s fear where everyone can get in or out without coercive means being employed.

Had ZBC been non-partisan, it would’ve raked in millions by screening the proceedings of the national dialogue. We are past the era of using total force and brutality. To a larger extent, Valeriano (1982) puts it right by purporting that, “…state power rests in a hegemonic equilibrium with alternated moments of force (where relevant not fake as in the Zimbabwean scenario) and consensus but without the necessity of predominance by coercion over consensus.” There exists a need for ideas to fight more, rather than mortal beings.

Dialogue thus as Kagoro (2018) puts it, “…is the result of a conscious realisation that none of the contending forces can survive if they do not take immediate action to minimise institutional, political, social and economic pressure that they are independently faced with. Dialogue is, therefore not capitulation, but a prudent expression of one’s desire to live long enough to fight another day.”

Conditions for dialogue

  • reining in the army
  • there is need for independent but effective guarantors of comprehensive socio-political and legal reforms (UN if its feasible)

A successful dialogue results in the assertion of Zimbabwe on the global front. Realisation of the rule of law, fiscal discipline and accountability on the part of adminstrators in every aspect that concerns Zimbabwe.

Free, fair, credible elections pasina kubirira of whatever nature or form not this hogwash of talks to talk talks so that talks can be talked to have talks so that talks get talked to talk the talks… Hapana chapter or act yematalks muconstitution yeZimbabwe mhani.

Lovemore, Male, 45, Mashonaland West

Need for Coordinator

Pillars should include: Timeframe, objective (resolving legitimacy issue), freeing ZEC from partisan to national impartial tool, come up with a caretaker government.

Participants parties with parliamentary representatives leaders, selected convectional church leaders, at national level, 4; structure: Coordinator, chairperson, secretary

Observers from outside (1 SADC, 1AU, 1UN, 1commonwealth), selected represented party persons

Success measured by agreeing on dialogue agenda items/resolving the differences and removing dictatorship/ZANUPF ownership of the country.

-Male, 53, Mashonaland West

I think the major political parties, churches, youth, women, economist, business stakeholders, zec, representatives of employees. Zimbabweans are not talking coz no one will listen to them

Zimbabweans are not talking because we are fed up with Zanu Pf strategies and policies.They fool us that Zimbabwe is open for business whilst they do not respect human rights. How are investors going to come in a country where there is all sorts of human rights abuses.

That the Zanu Pf party and government release all those they arrested during the last protest and arrest those who killed innocent civilians using live ammunition.

The MDC ‘A’ should participate it is the only stronger opposition party which can try to convince investor into the country. The example is clear when Mugabe and Tsvangirai in 2009 sat down for a dialogue the results were there for everyone to see and enjoy. After the dialogue we must see to changes as a result of the dialogue for it to be successful.

– Matthew, male, 44 yrs, Mash West Province

Perpetrators of violence should not preside over issues of dialogue.

Zimbabweans are not talking because of fear. Government and politician are abusing and violating human right laws

Participants of national dialogues are politicians Government representatives , human right representatives, citizens representatives and other neutral organisations

Structure of national dialogue

  • Should be chaired with independent and neutral organisation e.g AU, SADC and UN
  • Should be transparent and broadcasted
  • All citizens grievance should be addressed
  • Violation of human rights should be addressed and bring to justice individuals who are responsible for shooting and killing of unarmed and vulnerable civilians

A successful dialog is one which is not handled by interested parties and is the one which produce fair and transparents answers and results

-Timothy, Male, Age 28, Harare

The National Dialogues are just a sheer waste of grandstanding time. From Court ruling to Commission of Inquiry we are tired of time wasting talks leading to nowhere. We all know what needs to be done. The old guys should just go into retirement and allow for young blood to lead.

Juliet, Female, 44, Mashonaland East

Zimbabweans are not talking: Fear of the state, political polarisation, inequality of the justice system and targeted policing

Key pillars of national dialogue: Transparency, honest and taking the nation first before individual interest

Who should participate: Churches, political parties, student unions, business community, traditional leaders and non governmental organisation and pressure groups

My two cents in this is that the NPRC should consider having an platform whereby people feel safe to air their views. One which is similar to suggestion boxes. Ordinary people have a lot to say and they are the ones facing the hard truth when it comes to any decision or policy implemented. The question is how safe are you after airing your views. A lot of intelligent youths with constructive ideas in this country and also who happen to be the ones who were at mercy of most brutality recently. Let the future generation play a pivotal role in shaping the platform frameworks and nitty grities.

Talkmore, Male, 36, Mash Central

Zimbabweans are not talking because political differences and personal ego.

Key pillars of national dialogue are:
Military withdrawal;
Release of political prisoners;
Acknowledge killings of 01 August 2018 & 14-16 jan 2019;

Participants should involve political parties, churches, non-gvt organisations, trade union & civil society

How a dialogue should be structured
(1) A neutral & credible convener
(2) Media access to dialogue proceedings

A successful dialogue appears there is a transitional government

Fear of Victimisation. Most people who have dared speak out have ended up either dead, maimed or missing.

Honesty and transparency. Independent mediation

Political parties and civilians at every level especially grassroots

Ruvimbo, Female, 30, Mashonaland East

As Zimbabweans who voted I think they are suppose to say what is in their hearts and air it out. NPRC should go door to door and hear from people who voted. Key pillars should be stakeholders. ZCC AU and Sadac. Nelson Chamisa should participate and the one who is claiming he was voted by people. Each should give v11 forms that he won the elections. I think it needs people who are neutral in both parties no favor of any party and ZCC must be included as well.

We can’t have dialogue without AU / SADC Head of Catholic Church the Pope.

Male, 40, Mash East

A national dialogue should have mediators who are neutral to represent all the parties involved.

A national dialogue should happen at a neutral place especially in Zimbabwe where the Opposition believes the elections where stolen.

All parties should be involved concerns well represented in the dialogue children, prisoners, women, youth, old people, Workers, churches, vendors, mahwindi, civil society, cross borders, Political parties and others, not to rush to have a dialogue as leaders not considering the concerns they are leading. Grassroots employ the Government so they should come back to people wherever they need to move forward. Every Zimbabweans ‘ concerns should be well represented during dialogue.

A national dialogue should have people’s concerns at heart first not political parties agendas in the dialogue. The dialogue will not yield anything it will be just a waste of time.

-Thokozile, Female, 29, Harare North

Management of public affairs requires honest people of the highest integrity. Our problem is we choose the wrong people to represent us in parliament and subsequently government. Let’s arrest all corrupt officials and set a standard for all wannabe politicians. So the national dialogue should be about ending abuse of public office and de-militarising the state. It should centre on guaranteeing freedom to the citizens.

I as a Zimbabwean am not talking because I am in a state of mourning. 2018 was a difficult year with so much loss in the family and friends too. I lost a child, not because the medical staff did not try, but because time was up. Into 2019 I was hopeful that it would get better despite the currency crisis. At least we could vent freely without threat to our lives as had been in the days of Grace and Bob. We had an illusion of freedom. It made life lighter. And the burden was seemingly shared among us. One day I woke up to a vehicle less Tafara. Not a single car seen on the roads. That day was fine until the gunshots started sounding. On the Saturday, a young man had been found murdered at the entrance of a bar close to our home. We went to the shops that night looking for candles and ecocash was offline. The queue was three hours long and fuel was available to those who paid a little extra to get it. The candles we needed were for church. The cash we had in hand was laughable. We needed other basics too. Ecocash was offline. We only got to know this at the counter. We bought the candles and left the basics behind. We could always sort it out on Monday. We went to church and it was a normal day but eerily quiet, with very few people open for business. Monday Choppies was looted. Gunshots were sounding and teargas stinging our eyes slightly. Tuesday morning, we heard that people we know, some whom we are related to had been beaten. The uniformed forces had demanded men to open up or else they would throw in teargas so most men conceded to save their families. The ghetto was littered with armed forces. I went looking for some basics again, but no one was opened. I went to check up on a friend, and while we were there, we saw ‘pumas’ headed our way. I took my daughter’s hand and we ran home. I told as many people as I could along the way of who I had seen. Another sympathetic friend gave us sugar and rice. We had stopped fantasising about bread the minute we heard it was selling for $3 each. We would make do with what we had. The men decided to move danger away from their homes and were moving around in groups. The army filtered in through the maze and captured some young men on the run including a neighbour. They were beaten to set an example, all the way from the inner neighbourhood to the shops. Police and army took turns in beating them. Were stayed at home, occasionally being stung buy teargas. There was loud popping in the air all day. We were afraid. This characterised the days to follow. In my I have never felt this threatened and useless. If our door had been kicked in as in other household, I could not defend my children. Zimbabwe was so bleak, I thanked God for taking my child’s life and sparing them from a senseless dark Zimbabwe. I could not imagine the child surviving the onslaught of teargas, the drying of my breast milk owing to stress, or even trying to justify what I was faced with to a future teen who would ask me,’Mummy, why did this happen.’ I am silent because I am in mourning. I mourn the loss of the Zimbabwe our fathers fought for. I mourn the collective loss of conscience of our fathers. I mourn the loss of childhood of our children. Rice and soup for breakfast will raise a child just fine, but through out the history of humanity, bread has been a breakfast basic. I mourn the loss of my dignity. My children will always see me as greater but the life I offer them pales in comparison to my own childhood. I mourn my child. I mourn so deeply for the child I buried but I cannot live with the fact that I was thankful that the child had died and would not live to grow up in this bleak and dark Zimbabwe. I want to know why we suffered like that. I am not speaking because their is vermin on my tongue. God forbid, but for the first time, I will voice it out that my people are despicable and still they refuse to take ownership of the shameful, unspeakable things they have done. I cannot speak till the urge to spit on a uniform leaves me. We have forgiven so many things, but this we must never forget.

There is only one key pillar to national dialogue and that pillar is truth. We cannot have peace and reconciliation with out TRUTH. The same goes for the blood spilt on our soils which cannot be cleansed with out truth. We need our leaders and eldership to speak, live, breath and give truth. Nothing can progress without it.

When siblings fight, the father of that household sorts out his children by speaking to them. We need our president to stop playing favourites and to speak to us not at us. We need him to set aside his arrogance and acknowledge that we are children under his eldership which is looking horrific from where I am standing. We need him to for once show solidarity for the suffering of the very least among us. We need the president, his perm secs but not the ministers because they do nothing and have done nothing to alleviate the peoples suffering.

Successful dialogue acknowledges the hurt of the other. It is humble and honest. It brings forgiveness and peace

Zimbabweans are talking but unfortunately they are involved in closed door discussions at various social interaction levels e.g work places,their voices are just not publicly published. The parties that shared the voters must be involved in the dialogue, this is because they represent the voices of the pple who voted for them. To give it the weight it deserves,there must be sadc and au representatives. A suceesful dialogue will take into consideration the views of all parties and the solution must be of a balanced nature that drives the country forward economically, socially, politically, culturally and with no benefits for individual players that is Mnnangagwa and Chamisa.

We have gold, chrome, nickel, platinum, diamond, wild life, coal, border posts, beef, copper, money is there, but problem is priority

We are rich, bad leaders

Zimbabweans can’t say anything people are tired, find no reason to vote, bcoz gvt does not pole at heart, pple are not working, so they need to address the bread and butter issues not reconciliation

Pple are suffering, cost of living unbearable, transport cost, prices of basic commodities.

Address these daily economic pressing issues.

Pple are very furious with the gvt, they didn’t address the nation in times of crisis

No need for the gvt to go round doing thank you rallies on who’s cost while pple suffering, must have, know what is called priority. Prioritisation is a big project.

1)It is difficult for us to say anything coz wants you talk you will end up in cells

2) Mnangagwa must resign

3) I don’t think it is possible for some church leaders to participate as they are Zanu members

Zimbabweans are not talking as I suppose the platform for dialogue is not level conducive, people talk through the ballot and they r not listened to that is the first impediment towards reconciliation of our country Zimbabwe

The pillars to dialogue are mediaters of choice international or local AU included

Presidents who contested 2018 plebiscite business people the church and the three arms of executive, judiciary, and…

A dialog process should be open and come out with a win win situation for politicians and ordinary Zimbabweans on the streets

Jacob / Male / 31/ Harare

Dialogue is when two or more conflicting parties decide to talk with the aim of ironing out impending conflicts or differences! Any part gets into dialogue willingly without duress, victimization or fear! All parties should show will for dialogue! The ground should be even for effective dialogue. Each part to the dialogue should have preconditions before engaging in dialogue, and demands have to be met… even with compromise! It takes sacrifice! But who sets the agenda?

Why are people not talking?
“Theres nothing to talk about, people are tired of these immature political tensions which have a big impact on the progress of the countries economy”.

Key Pillars of this dialogue from my opinion is the government itself, the major political parties, the churches, NGOs and Trade Unions and the people of Zimbabwe for a Stable economy and peaceful political environment.

Everyone has to participate, every society, everybody has to be considered in this dialogue because in times of economic distress everyone is somehow affected. At the top level Chamisa and ED have to agree with their political parties. At the government level they should find mechanisms to align this national economy back on track. At the lower level we as the people of Zimbabwe have to agree on one thing, unite in our differences and be proud of our diversity. Forgive the past and work on the future.

How it should be structured becomes a matter of the major participants that is the conditions they set fr each other.

A successful dialogue has to produce positive energy to the Countries visions as well as bring satisfaction to every citizen of this country

Nigel / Male / 21 / Harare

The affairs of Zimbabwe should be solved by Zimbabwean. No outside interference no.

Zimbabweans are not talking, for me i think it is the fear instilled in people after a long history of open brutality by partisian status law enforcement agents. The Police, Army and the CIO have been implicated in open brutalisation of civilians and more to this it is also worrisome as some people we assume as friends spy on us and during dusk people are tortured especially during time of elections. To this end, most people who have no media visibility and international trackers(tracking system )opt to mute. If fact, no one can withstand, brutality of the seating government which has gone beyond reasonable force. The New Dispensation had opened up the democratic space but spoiled it too quickly. The entire call for upholding democracy was doused in a single phase.

Key pillars of dialogue are:-
Identification of the main problem which is insinuating other problems and put a stopper on it. The other problems usually are just pushers for resolute settlement of the first problem.
Peace and recognition of all stakeholders in the disputes as equal contenders.
Acceptance of differences and the realisation that we have one Zimbabwe and no one knows after life and what eternal life brings to the departed.
Involvement of all stakeholders who represent communities from grassroots as this strengthen foundations – all embracing.
Adherence to the rules of negotiation where mediation is done by trusted and secure, go between.
National dialogue calls for other nations to mediate not local stooges to do so but can be advisors as they have practical evidence of the differences.

Who should participate
The aggrieved parties, in this respect, the President of Zanu pf and President of MdcA.
Leaders of labour movements
Captains of industry
Church leaders
These should participate at apex level as they have a close proximity to presidency and are better informed.
Lawyers are critical in ensuring that the rule of law is toed in the negotiations and safeguard outcomes.

Labour movements.
21st governments across the world will never have a good sleep because of labour issues. People need to support needs through labour. If labour is at pains there are a myriad of problems for the government. The labour movement bodies should be heard and any seating government should never use force on labour-the country is heavily sabotaged without regard to tape the labour.

Captains of industry
They drive industrialisation and these are the backers of money exchange, its value, and restoration of labour value. They determine the international engagement if they are pulling to the vision of middle income by harnessing resources, creating surplus which creates jobs, forex and trigger internal infrastructure development or what Karl Marx explains as the ‘base’ and ‘superstructure’ dichotomy.
Church leader
They provide the support for the will and need for unity of purpose. They help people to view the world and Zimbabwe in particular as a Godly treasure that should be safeguarded and developed thru recognition of God as the last trustee of all treasure. They promote peace and unity for all and preservation of humanity.

The traditional leaders
These bind rural communities and have interests in the leadership structures of government. They should be in the national dialogue and reflect their position but should not meddle into open politics as they lead diverse people in the communal lands. If they become partisan most likely spanners will be thrown in the cycles.

Structure of a dialogue process
Aggrieved parties then mediation from external independent institutions and organisations that Zimbabwe is a signatory to and in then a team of lawyers from both parties exchanging notes then input from all stakeholders( changers should be shut out) especially those who failed to pull meaningful percentage in the ended july polls ( for this is a contention between two main political parties). There out come should reflect all stakeholder inputs beyond individual aspirations but for the benefit of a New Zimbabwe.

Successful dialogue
It should reflect equity for women and men of Zimbabwe
Noone should be a winner and noone shud be a loser for it is a dialogue not an election.

Male / 29 / Masvingo

Zimbabweans are not talking about it because those who did it wants to lead/tell the NPRC. The key pillars are there must be a mediator to facilitate and must be transparency and time line. All political leaders,churches, civil grps, NGOs etc must participate on this at district level. A successful dialogue must not be partisan or one sided. News reporters must be partially and balanced.

Male, 45, Mash West

Male / 45 / Mash West

Ok at first to have a dialog, those who were arrested accused for causing violence during the January 14 shutdown period must be set free

The dialog must be screened like what they did on concourt judgement

It must be mainly meant to capture for economic reforms, particularly price hikes

There must be non partisan commission of inquiry set by the dialogue members not by the government

The government must justify the reason behind fuel price hikes coz if left uncontrolled it will trigger cost push inflation

The dialogue must include international representatives

Representatives must also come from each economic sector in Zim sharing their views on how they can move forward the econom

Talking is done through the ballot box, and we just did that, is there anything else to talk about?


Why are Zimbabweans not talking?

Wrong question. It should read “Are Zimbabweans talking?” People talk in different languages, including sign language. Zimbabweans are doing just that. The biggest problem faced by Zimbabweans is that a certain group or class of people has become deaf to the voices of the other group or class. We are in a situation where you are ignored when you talk but beaten up when you shout. It seems you are not heard when you talk but when you shout you are beaten or killed. But Zimbabweans are always talking. Talking silently most of the time.

What are the key pillars of national dialogue?

Tolerance, humbleness & boldness.

Who should participate, how and at what level?

National dialogue needs wholesome participation. Every Zimbabwean must take part. This can be done in the same manner and method as done during the re-writing of the Zimbabwean Constitution. Outreach programs must be conducted to gather people’s views with regards to the prevailing situations. National dialogue must not be a prerogative of Political leaders only, if left so, it will be a power struggle as opposed to finding solutions to national problems.

What does a successful dialogue look like?

It looks like a river that flows in the same direction, picking up along all the loose items as it flows. That kind of dialogue leaves no-one out. Like a flowing river, its destination is always the deep and calm sea. A sea of peace, love, harmony and prosperity.

– Collen, Kadoma

Dialogue is only to be done if followed by genuine implementation of what was agreed and the drawing table not dialogue for the sake of coming together with no action


1) Yes talks are needed to push the collapsed Zimbabwe economy forward, now it seems difficult to set a dialogue because of disagreement of major political parties through their tough conditions.

2) The key pillars of national dialogue is’ yes of course all stakeholders should be there, but not without those with majority votes ….truly the talks should be between ZANU pf and both MDC parties.

3) everyone should participate sometimes our political leaders seems to be sting whilst they get influence from us their fans, by giving our leaders positive facts we build a solidarity Zimbabwe.

4) Structure of a dialogue first we already know that there is a tension between our political leaders, so it is imbalance if the talks are chaired by one of the contender, how if we give this duty to AU, UN or SADC to mediate the talks.

(5) A successful dialogue should be structured by reacting positively to terms and conditions of dialogue if its necessary. Of course some have that mind of being used then dump after, but if its real a new dispensation I think it going to put us to another level as a country.

– Naison

Zim is open for talks mantra becoming more fashionable than the open for business mantra, eish I wish those talks would yield better proceeds.


Yah its true rich pipo u are busy talking about dialogue but as for us majority of Zimbabweans we are not talking abt dialogue but daily basic needs prices going up at highest level 1. you are crying for dialogue so dat u have enough fuel to run yo businesses we ghetto poor pipo we are worried abt bringing food on the table in a country where we buy 2.50 a loaf of bread, so we are on different books dear. Hapana kubatana wen you are yo colleagues are failing to fight for poor oppressed brothers and sister of mine in mbare pumula sizinda mberengwa zaka jerera. U dnt know the situation on ground coz u dnt live with the majority of zimboz is this wat our forefathers fought fo? If it yes then it was far much better tu be under Smith regime

– Ezra

NPRC is a joke in the first place. They failed to deal with the Gukurahundi issue. The same perpetrators killed in 2002, killed in 2008, 1 August you say let’s reconcile. Killed again 12-16 January let’s dialogue. What dialogue are you talking off the only solution for Zim ICC.


1) we can not talk when the perpetrators are looking at us in the Eye. We can not talk when there is no guarantee of freedom after talking. Many are still incarcerated, many exiled. And you invite us to the Dinner Table…As what? The Meal!
2) Justice! Let Justice be done first then we can talk.
3) Victims can only talk when they know perpetrators are behind bars and will never shoot at 45 degree angle again.
4) Structure Dialogue with freeing Innocent Political prisoners and incarcerating rogue military elements.
5) Guaranteed freedoms after the dialogue. No intimidation and lastly Arrests of Military personal who shot maimed and killed people.

– Varaidzo

There is so much fear where anyone holding opposing views becomes misconstrued as public enemy; and this can become a matter of life and death, literally. But objectively looked at looking at opposing views, we appreciate how far apart we are, and if we must find one another, we must estimate what distance needs to be traveled and the effort required. Let’s start by defining our differences.

For me I say no to dialogue. The winner ngaatonge kana atadza ngaataure isu tichaona kut toisa ani ipapo.

Zimbabweans are not talking because Mnangagwa is a killer. The pillar is to solve poverty datum line. Chamisa must be one of those people as Zimbabwe’s President. UN must be at dialogue process so it can be structured.

There are two types of Zimbabweans here. The first groups talks and no one listen to them. The 2nd is that of people who don’t talk because they are afraid. That freedom of expression is not guaranteed with security. It is freedom of expression with no no freedom AFTER expression.

Before dialogue, our country needs to be healed. There can’t be a fruitful dialogue when it’s amongst angry people. We are too angry with each other. We need healing first, identify that which makes everyone angry first.

Everyone should participate in this dialogue. It must not be between political leaders only. There is need for representation from the ordinary apolitical people, churches, schools(children are always victims of a non functioning country) teen groups etc.

We don’t need any pilitical leader to lead this dialogue if we want it to b a real one. In fact l feel it’s wise to choose a neutral body to lead the dialogue, comprised of non Zimbabweans, people with no interests. I said non Zimbabwean citizens because every Zimbabwean has become a politician, be it in the church or NGO. So l don believe in a dialogue led by a Politian or Zimbabwean. Moreso, give our communities time to dialogue going upwards. There is need for decentralization of this down to the village or grassroots. People in town must not always decide for everyone

Successful dialogue is the one that brings people to work together to achieve a better Zimbabwe. Divided we will always be in the mud.

No to Command Dialogue. No to politicians leading the dialogue. Give the communities enough space and time to dialogue. Freedom of expression and freedom after expression is important.

– Male, Harare, Age 29

My view is the white man’s domination that we fought against was an evil of racial segregation. Today and since 1980 we are experiencing tribal domination an equally unacceptable situation. I know beneficiaries will be in denial but that does not erase this evil. Talk to me and I will bring the facts to support my experiences of this evil.

I think those who contested the presidential result in this case MDC A and ZANU PF must be the ones who must do the talks.

They are not talking because no one cares to listen. Our leaders are so aloof from our needs. They have become to comfortable to hear our groans

Dorris, Female, 42 yrs, Bulawayo

I think Zimbabweans are not talking bcoz they are afraid..that if I’m heard saying this wat will they or lack of confidence. I think the key pillars of national dialogue are..confidence, en jus being proud. Anyone, everyone should participate, by contributing anything to the grp, ideas or saying something,any level. It should be structured, I think audition that suits the people at that tym or even by the situations. A successful dialogue must be productive. Yes Nothing about us without us its true coz no country without people, we find solutions by talking to each other, life becomes easy by chatting, sharing ideas even jokes with others.

– Ronica, Female, 33, Harare

Coming to the issue of dialogue I personally think there should be an independent mediator preferably from outside our country, civic societies and churches must be present, the venue has to be neutral. Masoja nemapurisa vakauraya vanhu vanofanira kusungwa and brought to book. The state media has to change the way they report, ngavabuditsewo news dzechokwadi pliz.

Fiona, 28, Female, Manicaland

Zimbabweans are not talking for many reasons but the most pertinent is that they have been silenced and the media is portraying lies than the real truth. Issues affecting society are being ignored whilst matters of little priority being made news of the day. Above all crime perpetrators have never confessed and repented. The progress which was promised in the independence note has been defaulted on. The masses are suffering. Questions we have are these will we be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. Will we have an oasis of freedom and justice in our courts in Zimbabwe. Will we pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, knowing that we will realize our common now and future together. There is no consensus in the creative battle to end long night of economic captivity. The bank of mass development seem to have insufficient funds and the youths refuse to believe that the great vaults of opportunity of this nation are bankrupt. The nation seems not to like opening the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. The determination of the masses is undermined. There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in Zimbabwe until the masses have their fair portion in development cake as well as their citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice and development emerges. Youths are wallowing in the valley of despair even though there is Parliament there is no policy to safeguard them from unemployment. The constitution has sacred rights enshrined in it for the masses but there are no concrete plans to grow the cake such that they can be realized. Will the government unearth hidden things of misunderstanding from prior independence era, Gukurahundi, the 2000 Violence, 2008 and the post election violence, the 15 billion disappearance, Dzamara and Mujuru case. The nation cannot survive half slave half free and this is the case in here. There is need to do away with violence and Dr Nkomo former vice president said that it is anti revolutionary to point a gun at another Zimbabwean but we saw guns killing people what went wrong. It seems we quote our heroes only on parts that seem to further our interests than the nation at large. Can we attain our own middle income status without our own currency. Something is happening in Zimbabwe, something is happening violence must stop at and we must live as a family not competitors, not as rivals or enemies, brotherhood must reign.

Yes there is a need for dialogue in Zimbabwe but it is the implementation of it that is wrong. Mr Mnangagwa has called for dialogue and peace in the country but should first consider this: Zimbabwe is in a conflict or crisis situation since the July 30 harmonised elections. Soldiers killed people in Harare on 1 August and in January last month crimes against humanity were committed by state forces. Peace cannot just come on a silver platter Mr Mnangagwa. Peace is a product of negotiations. Peace is a product of mediation. Peace a product of reconciliation and forgiveness. Peace is a product of truth telling. Zimbabwe desperately needs transitional justice. What we have in Zimbabwe is negative peace. Now Mr Mnangagwa should be reminded that dialogue in Zimbabwe requires mediation of SADC, AU and even the EU. A mediator is suppossed to be appointed to facilitate dialogue. Dialogue cannot transpire with Mr Mnangagwa assuming the role of ‘big brother’ in the negotiations. He is supossed to eat a humble pie and derole as he is also one of the 23 candidates who took part in the disputed elections. He should not be seen inviting other candidates to the negotiation table. The neutral mediators should invite the warring parties to the table for negotiation not him dictating the pace of the negotiations. He should remember the GNU of 2009. It was a negotiated entreprise with mediators.

Gilbert,45, Chitungwiza