Framework for Dialogue to Move Our Country Forward
Yesterday I received a letter signed by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr. Misheck Sibanda, inviting me and the other candidates who participated in the 2018 election to a meeting with you at Munhumutapa Offices on Thursday February 7th at 10:00am to discuss “The Framework for Post-Election Dialogue by Political Parties.” Later yesterday afternoon, I received a second message indicating that the meeting had been brought forward to this afternoon February the 6th at 4pm at State House.
My views on what needs to happen for there to be meaningful dialogue that moves this country forward are already a matter of public record. I am attending this meeting today specifically to make those views known directly to you.
Sir the ball is fully in your court to create the right conditions for dialogue, something you have yet to do. I fully support the principled stand taken by my colleagues not to attend this meeting while members of their organizations languish in detention, are denied due process or are still being hunted by partisan security services and the police.
In the short time you have been president, deploying the army to stop citizens from exercising their constitutional rights has become routine. There has been a ratcheting up of threats to individuals and groups that should be part of the dialogue by members of your party and government. Most disturbingly, there has hardly been any indication by your government that the brutalization of women – and indeed all citizens – by an army which should not be playing any law enforcement role in the first place, is concerning at all, will go away anytime soon, or will never happen again.
Sir, I believe real and meaningful dialogue can only take place after:
I. All political prisoners and those wrongfully detained during and after the July 2018 elections and the recent protests in the country have been released.
2. The false charges hanging over ordinary Zimbabweans, trade unionists, activists, political leaders etc. in the aftermath of the 2018 election and the recent unrest in the country are fully dropped.
3. The anny is, by a direct and public order from you, withdrawn completely from the streets and from manning roadblocks, and from playing any law enforcement role in the country.
4. AIPPA and POSA are fully repealed to demonstrate your good faith and commitment to open dialogue about the future of our country.
5. The heads of those who have been responsible for raping women and brutalizing citizens have rolled as you promised upon your return from your recent overseas trip. This must happen in the context of a full disclosure of the number of citizens injured, raped, or killed so far, and the appropriate action to deal with perpetrators.
6. A neutral and credible Convener is agreed on to facilitate a broad and inclusive dialogue that will include trade unionists, activists, civic groups and all stakeholders to ensure that the views and interests of all Zimbabweans are represented.
7. There is a demonstrated and unequivocal commitment by you to a democratic, competent, integrous governance outcome from the dialogue that will permanently solve the socio-political and economic problems that have bedeviled our country in the past four decades Mr. President, meeting these minimum conditions for dialogue are clearly in your power to do.
I believe that there are many of us who would be prepared to be part of the dialogue that must happen once it is clear they have been met.
Dr Noah Manyika