Prominent cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori says President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa should hold talks to end the stalemate over the disputed August elections.
Mukonori (FM), who was instrumental in nudging the late Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai into talks that culminated in an inclusive government in 2009, told Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube (TN) on the platform In Conversation with Trevor that Zimbabweans have suffered enough.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
TN: Father Fidelis Mukonori, welcome to In Conversation with Trevor.
FM: Most welcome. Thank you.
TN: What a pleasure. It is such a pleasure having you here and I will tell you why.
Because you have had the front seat on a number of huge historical developments in Zimbabwe.
I will take a helicopter view. You have had close conversations with the late Josiah Tongogara, he was actually a friend.
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TN: Rex Nhongo was your friend.
TN: You had intimate conversations with Joshua Nkomo.
TN: Samora Machel.
TN: Kenneth Kaunda.
TN: Robert Mugabe.
TN: You were instrumental in negotiating the exit of Robert Mugabe in 2017...
TN: ...After the coup.
TN: You were instrumental in negotiating the GNU (government of national unity) between Zanu PF and MDC.
TN: What a privilege that must have been?
FM: Thank you. A privilege it was.
TN: So my question to you is; having seen all this….
We have just come out of an election now; and reading this book what goes through your mind seeing that we have just had an election.
We are at each other's throats. What goes through your mind? What do you think should be done?
FM: Thank you Trevor. What goes in my mind is even though God says He created us in his own image; but the kind of image that we give about ourselves is very different at different times.
The times and seasons that we go through is the type of life that we live.
We are very seasonal. When things are good we play the good, when we believe things are not so good we decide to play the bad boys, the bad girls, or the good boys, the good girls, or sometimes we are not sure about our being.
There is the sophistication side of our being, and there is the rumble side of our being; meaning to say because I am a theologian I resort sometimes naturally to Biblical issues.
When Lucifer decided to go against God, he decides because he thought he was bigger than God and that he would be God himself.
And sometimes it is still with us even today...
TN: We think that we are God?
FM: [We] think that we are bigger than God, and sometimes to think that we have to tell God what to do and how he should do things.
As a result, we forget that we are such finite human beings and that if we could live this life 10%, well we would change this world.
We would change Zimbabwe, if we lived 10% of our world in Zimbabwe well with our percentage of people in Zimbabwe today we would change this world. Why?
TN: Let me take you to the point that you say the Lucifer...Politics does seem to turn us into Lucifer, isn't it?
FM: Many things. Even going to church can turn us into Lucifer [as well].
TN: But politics is terrible when it comes to that. In terms of what it does with us and to each other.
FM: I believe we abuse it. I am taking the philosophical side of issues.
I believe we abuse politics as a thinking ground, and we abuse the politics by saying no we are playing politics here.
No. It is not true, we are not playing politics.
We believe that grace build(s) upon nature, which means if you are intelligent grace builds the nature of an intelligent person, and you do it so well, and you produce good things.
If I decide to be idiotic, the grace will build the idiocy of me, exactly what I do.
TN: What beauty can come out of where we are now where one side is disputing the election result, one other side is saying the elections cannot be disputed, it is what the people said?
What beauty can come out of this? What is it that grace can do with where we are at the moment?
FM: Apparently the people who are disputing; I make a laugh of it because both leaders are lawyers.
They say they are lawyers and they believe they should be their lawyers, and what a misnomer of disputation...
I [would] like to believe that a lawyer thinks logically, and one lawyer says I dispute, another lawyer says it is non-disputative, it is okay.
What makes me mad is what a loss of education, in educating people to become lawyers and dispute, and not show the dispute.
I was trained by the United Nations. I went to Mozambique after the death of Samora Machel as a UN commissioner and we were trained on how to deal with the elections in Mozambique, and I was one of the commissioners in Mozambique.
Because of my background I was given one of the farthest places in the last province called Nyasa Province.
Quite far off, and I said to the young men and women who were given to me to work with, I said would you like to make history?
They said yes [we would] like to make history.
I said okay, I said I give you this time, you come back at 3:30pm because we want to start our counting of these votes at 4pm.
So, I gave them five to six hours [to] themselves and in fact before 3.30pm they were there, and exactly at 4pm and I said to them once we start we are not going to stop until we have finished and we did.
The whole night the United Nations peacekeeping force, everyone was around, and at 11.30pm the United Nations guy said: “Father the whole of Mozambique has gone to bed.”
And I said me and my young men and women here we are not going to bed, we go to bed when we are through.
We are going to finish, we decided and we are going to do it.
TN: So what is the relevance of that to the Zimbabwe situation?
FM: The relevance of it is that I wanted to prove to them that you cannot steal, it is not “stealable”. Why? Because every party had someone there, and we were counting...
TN: What do we do now with where we are with these two lawyers that you've described disputing this? What is the way out?
FM: Probably let us do it the Catholic way. We put them in a house, then they discuss and decide until they are through. We give them food inside, they eat...
TN: We lock the room?
FM: We lock the room...
TN: Do not come out until...
FM: Do not come out until we are done, because my brother, over 70 000 lives died in Chimurenga 2.
I do not know how many, I am still trying to find out how many died in Chimurenga 1.
Are we blood letters? Are we blood suckers? Why as Zimbabweans?
We have to learn seriously that this is the Second Chimurenga, and after the Second Chimurenga we still dispute.
If we are educated as we believe in Zimbabwe there is a lot of education which takes place, why do we dispute if this is non-disputative?
If it is disputative why should we allow that dispute to take place? When we have to do it let it be done properly so that people have to accept to say okay I am done for now, but I will be coming back in the future.
Or someone who have to say, make sure that no I cannot steal because this is not “stealable”.
Why can we not make sure that there is there is no evidence to steal and it is not “stealable”?