Our political atmosphere is so poisoned and toxic. People are still caught in a time warp of name-calling those who disagree with them in strategy, ideology and methodology as sell-out and puppets. Shame
By Lloyd Damba
On 8 April 2002 the SADC facilitator and special Envoy to President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Republic of Nigeria Professor Adebayo Adedeji, Secretary-General of the ANC Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, special envoy of the President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki flew into Zimbabwe at a special Dialogue Summit between Zanu-PF then led by the late Zanu-PF strongman and President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the late MDC Founding Father and the Father of Democracy Morgan Tsvangirai.
Representing the MDC was the then-party Secretary-General Professor Welshman Ncube.
Realising that the country was in an unprecedented crisis that of:
1. Reduction of economic output every year since 1997
2. Galloping Inflation,
3. 80% unemployment,
4. 85% living below the, poverty datum line
5. Poor Export performance due to lack of manufacturing and low commercial activity,
6. Chronic shortages of much needed Foreign Currency,
7. A government that lack legitimacy in the eyes of the world
With the view to Ending International Isolation the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai entered into this Historic Dialogue, advocating for the Diaspora Vote.
Ending the politics of Political Violence, hate speech and slogans and exploitation of black man by a black man.
Advocating for multi-partyism among other issues which were imperative then and still are today.
Fast forward to 2008 when Morgan Tsvangirai beat Robert Mugabe in March and what followed.
After that shame debacle of an election called -Run-Off- the Regional Body SADC again called for dialogue and what came out was a more comprehensive agreement Called the Global Political Agreement.
This ushered in the Government of National Unity – GNU.
Majoring in the agreement was the recognition that violence dehumanises and engenders feelings of hatred and nation polarisation and undermines the collective independence as a people and our capacity to exercise our free will in making political choices.
The parties agreed to refrain from using hate language, coercion, intimidation, violence, abusive language that may incite hostilities, political intolerance, unfairly undermine each other, and ethnic hatred.
Further the parties agreed that the right to canvassing and mobilisation of political activity as the chief cornerstone of democracy must not be hindered.
That brings me to my next point.
The new MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora less than six months on the leadership of the MDC he has tabled the same agenda that was tabled by Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki 18 years ago and the same agenda that was tabled by SADC and guaranteed by the African Union seven years ago.
The same agenda that SADC tried in vain to table with no success soon after the disputed poll in June 2018.
Looking back in 2002 the same items that were tabled by the MDC to Professor Adedeji and Mr Mothlante remain as they are and the same things that are the Global Political Agreement accept one were fulfilled, that is the writing of the country’s constitution.
The MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora has been consulting the party structures countrywide on the need for the party and other players to engage in dialogue to end the country’s two-decade crisis.
In his new approach he has introduced the politics of Rational Disputation devoid of hate, rancour, political intolerance, violence hate speech that incites class hatred and violence.
All these things are detailed in the Global Political Agreement and were the demands of the MDC in 2002 to General Obasanjo.
All he has just done is to adopt an already agreed position and reminding the nation and other political players as well as traditional leaders, the church, civic society labour, the student movement of their obligation to this very important and historic document.
The people of Zimbabwe drained with demonstrations and political Violence are now heeding his call.
In Kenya their politics has transformed of late not because of the ruling party but it was transformed by Morgan Tsvangirai’s friend and long-time opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Elections in this Country were always marred by violence.
The violence at one time invited the microscopic attention of the International Criminal Court.
But today Odinga and all opposition leaders enter into Harambe House not as visitors but future occupiers of the state property. They attend national events without fear of being labelled sell-outs.
The opposition politics of Kenya is what every Zimbabwean should yearn for.
Our political atmosphere is so poisoned and toxic. People are still caught in a time warp of name-calling those who disagree with them in strategy, ideology and methodology as sell-out and puppets.
Defeating the whole objective why the liberation struggle was waged, political pluralism and adult human suffrage.
I personally am convinced that the Rational Disputatian Movement by President Douglas has introduced the much-needed politics in this Country.
Hoping too that every Zimbabwean should embrace the Dialogue Senator Douglas Mwonzora is calling for. Dialogue based on principle rather than political expediency.
The crisis facing Zimbabwe today is threefold.
There is no economy to talk much about and Zimbabwe needs direct foreign investment so that we create employment for the people of Zimbabwe.
Secondly we need to end international isolation which is affecting all of us and we need to be part of the commonwealth.
This international isolation must come to an end.
Thirdly we need to end a contested legitimacy and make sure that our domestic policy is devoid of all the vices that have made us a pariah state.
In the bleakest of places, in poor rural areas, in the ghetto urban centers, in the middle of a dark African night, you find idealists who are bold and brave enough to challenge the system and give hope to an ailing and polarised nation.
Douglas Mwonzora is one such idealist on the correct path and that is the reason why he will prevail.
Lloyd Damba is MDC Presidential Spokesperson
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