President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was forced to cancel his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and return home after a week of protests which led to a crackdown on activists and massive looting, has called for a national dialogue to resolve the crisis in the country.
“I invite leaders of all political parties as well as religious and civil leaders to set aside our differences and come together,” he said in his message to the nation.
“What unites us is stronger than what could ever divide us. Let’s begin a national dialogue. Let’s put the economy first. Let’s put the people first.”
Mnangagwa has been preaching peace since he came to power in November 2017 but people did not take him seriously because of the peace that prevailed until the 1 August violence that saw six people being killed by the military after violence broke out in protest against the delay in announcing the presidential election results.
The violence was worse last week as people took to the streets, but there was an even bigger crackdown this time blacked out after the government shut down the internet and social media.
One of Mnangagwa’s lieutenants Tshinga Dube, a former government minister said there was need for people to talk without any pride or prejudice.
“I think the best thing we have to do is to sit down as the country’s leaders and talk to each other without any pride or prejudice,” he told Newsday.
“When you are running a country, all of us who are running this country, we are not owners of this country. Anyone can do our job, but we must think of the people first. Now, we hear that 12 people have been shot dead and that is a result of failure to solve our problems.”
Zion Christian Church leader Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi told Mnangagwa at their joint birthday celebration to put the country first.
“Go and speak to the boys,” Bishop Mutendi said. “Go and speak to the people. Don’t slam the door. You have said you are a very listening President. Go and listen to their stories. Stupid though they may be, silly even then. Listen. Convince them. You are a sacrificial leader. A great leader must have gone through great sacrifices. You have gone to the bush. You have missed musoro wako kuchekwa (hanging), how many times zvawanga uchida kufa, zvose, including poisoning, you have gone through that, you have suffered. Ndiyo inonzi sacrifice. Isu chiKristu chedu tinochityira, why, because it was founded by a sacrificial man, Jesus. He died for us. That’s what you have been doing since you were a boy, so you are mature enough, Hapana zvinombokunetsai. Torai zvikomana. Garai pasi. Tauriranai. Wiriranai. (There is nothing impossible. Get the boys. Sit down with them. Talk. Agree)
“Tine verse yedu inoti Jehovha unoti nemazuva okupedzisira mweya wangu uchadurugwa panyika. Ndinoda kuti kana zvana kana zvoporofita, majaya achiona vision, dhara dzichirota hope. Dzichishanda dzose muhurumende iyoyo. Zvana zvenyu zvitorei. Zvitsvakirei pamunozvitsvetawo, isu vadhara tichirota hope, vakomana vachiona mavision, zvikomana zvichiporofita. Ndiani angatigona pano?” he said citing Joel 2 vs 28 urging Mnangagwa to work with the opposition because no one would stand against a united Zimbabwe.
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