Talks: This is no time for grandstanding

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THE recent calls from a number of quarters, including the European Union (EU), for ZANU PF and MDC Alliance to sit down and talk together, give the misleading impression that there is an unwillingness on either of the two parties to enter into dialogue.

And yet paradoxically, both parties have expressed several times their willingness to talk to each other.

However, there are differences over conditionalities.

Immediately after his victory in last year’s general elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared that his door was always wide open for talks with anybody.

He was soon to prove that he was not merely paying lip service to this commitment.

He initiated the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), a forum which called for inclusive talks among political parties.

His only condition was that participants had to be political parties that had participated in last year’s presidential elections.

This included MDC Alliance.

On the other hand, MDC Alliance has rubbished this idea saying, it alone, of the losing parties, had to be invited for the dialogue.

But that is not all. 

It also questioned the legitimacy of President Mnangagwa and wanted an outsider to chair whatever talks MDC Alliance held with the President.

Thus MDC Alliance is still in an election mode and wants any talks to be centred on the nullification of the 2018 presidential poll.

This, despite their unsuccessful appeal to the Constitutional Court to have the presidential result reversed.

In a nutshell, these are the minimum conditions set by MDC Alliance for talks to begin.

However, though such political grandstanding might be met with ululation at a political rally, it may not be good enough to build one’s country.

We suggest for any talks to start, which include the MDC Alliance, is acceptance of the status quo – that general elections were held last year and the results stand.

MDC Alliance might be bitter at losing but this does not mean the country has to come to a standstill.

A prosperous Zimbabwe is the very country the MDC Alliance hope to inherit if they are to win the the 2023 general elections. 

Zimbabwe is in the middle of trying to right an economic situation that had seen the country’s development lag behind its neighbours.

As the country groans under the weight of austerity measures, it is desirable that all political parties work in unison as far as the country’s interests are concerned.

There have been allegations that the MDC Alliance has been urging the West to tighten screws so that the country’s economy might collapse.

This would then enable them to get into power at the expense of the ruling ZANU PF.

But if we are to go by the recent poll prediction by the UK-based think-tank, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), economic hardships alone won’t help the MDC Alliance.

They have to sell a progressive programme that appeals to the voter.

In the same way as war hardships failed to separate the people from ZANU PF and the ZANLA forces during the liberation struggle, induced economic hardships will have the same effect.

No wonder the EU, which seems to be a bosom friend of the MDC Alliance, is also pushing for talks that will involve their blue-eyed boy. 

The best way to win the Zimbabwean vote is to be seen to be fighting for the people’s wellbeing.

This includes speaking against sanctions, homosexuality and those bent on tarnishing the image of the country.

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