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Let’s sit down and talk

WHEN your house is on fire it is not the time to be quarrelling, shouting obscenities or worse still, fighting each other.

As Zimbabweans, we need to pull ourselv

es together and put out the fire lest we perish. We are very fragile as a nation today and I wish to make a case for dialogue. My only qualification to make this appeal is that I am Zimbabwean.

I ask Zanu PF and the MDC to move to the political centre ground and meet with churches, traditional leaders, workers, vendors and other interest groups. Let us pick ourselves up so that the rest of the world can find it easy to assist us.

In such difficult times, Zimbabweans should create space for anyone who wants to help in nation-building. The history of Zimbabwe, especially from the year 1890 to this year, is full of hard lessons about race relations, social inequality, social justice, revenge and corruption.

President Robert Mugabe who is the current “chief executive” of the country has important decisions to make about where we go as a country, and some of these decisions require a lot of courage.

Dr Gideon Gono, a very senior government adviser has suggested: “In order to ensure maximum productivity levels, there is great scope in the country promoting and supporting joint ventures between the new farmers with progressive-minded former operators…as well as other new investors so as to hasten the skills transfer cycle.”

This is a practical idea which should be viewed positively.

The targeted sanctions that have been imposed on Zanu PF should be reviewed through broad-based negotiations.

British premier Tony Blair and US president George Bush should be prepared to engage President Mugabe just as they have engaged Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

Labelled the “Godfather of terrorism” by the US, Gaddafi is now being hailed by the European powers as the new elder statesman of Africa.

The suspension of sanctions has opened floodgates for political and business leaders into Libya.

British Labour MPs were set to go to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, alongside a delegation of businessmen, according to writer John Farmer.

The issue of the just-ended parliamentary election in Zimbabwe is well-known and documented. The election was endorsed by Sadc and disputed by the MDC and Western governments. This is why it is necessary for the West and Mugabe to talk.

It is however important to encourage whoever can take the initiative, to arrange talks. It should not be a matter for political parties only. In fact, political parties tend to think about power politics. At times political parties do not represent as many people as they claim, so negotiations should be broad-based. This includes those of us in the diaspora because we also contribute in our own way as we remain Zimbabweans at heart.

We can look east, west or wherever but the solution lies with us because whatever help we receive, should take our efforts into account.

Scarce commodities are being sold at exorbitant prices. They call it forces of supply and demand in economics and even these forces can be manipulated.

I resist the temptation to theorise while people are suffering on the ground. I therefore appeal for intellectual coherence in the way as we deal with our crises.

For dialogue to take place, we need to listen to each other and understand that we will not agree on everything. We might not even agree on the causes of our crises depending on where one is coming from. We might also not agree on the solutions with some pinning hopes on the IMF, others the constitution, and others a change of regime.

However, we could all be right and it might well be that, what we need is a process to agree on our solutions. Dialogue is the practical starting point. It must also be admitted that front-line politicians do not have all the answers and cannot always be trusted or trust each other.

Msekiwa Makwanya,


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