MDC-T president Dr Thokozani Khupe has said protests will not resolve the country’s economic challenges but dialogue, proffering solutions and unity of purpose are required to transform the country’s fortunes.
Dr Khupe, who is part of Mnangagwa's so-called national dialogue under the banner of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), said there is no quick fix to the economic problems bedevilling the country but Government should ensure that prices match people’s salaries.
President Mnangagwa leads Polad which consists of leaders of political parties that participated in last year’s Harmonised Elections.
In an interview yesterday, Dr Khupe said she was against protests as they do not bring solutions to economic challenges affecting the country.
Her sentiments follow an announcement by the MDC Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa that they will unleash protests against Government next week.
“My issue is that you can only resolve issues by sitting around the table and talking to each other. You cannot resolve issues by throwing stones, by burning tyres and by going out there. But you can only resolve issues by sitting around and discussing issues like we are doing right now (in Polad). If we sit down with them (Government) and they explain to us what is going on, we can also give our input. I’m pretty sure that Government and the President listen to some of the issues that we present to them,” said Dr Khupe.
She said last Friday Polad members met Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya among other senior Government officials seeking an explanation on what is happening in the economy.
Dr Khupe said they had frank discussions with the senior Government officials who explained reforms being implemented. In response, members of Polad urged Prof Ncube and Dr Mangudya to tame prices and foreign currency exchange rates. “The problem is the exchange rates. The prices are increasing because they are chasing the exchange rate. Once it goes up everything else increases. That is what we have told them that you must deal with the issue of prices because the cost of living does not match wages and salaries. Wages must match the cost of living,” she said.
Dr Khupe said confidence building, unity of purpose and increasing production are some of the issues that need to be addressed in turning around the economy.
She said while Government officials explained that the economic hardships being faced by citizens were a passing phase, they demanded that Government ease the pain on the suffering Zimbabweans.
“We want to know for how long we are going to feel that pain before things change because we know that the economy has been down and under for a long time. We are looking for permanent solutions for our problems. We don’t want things that are not going to help us at the end of the day.
“We want permanent solutions to our problems. We want an economy that is going to be built on a strong foundation. While we don’t expect things to change overnight, there are things that need to be fixed like the cost of living which should match salaries and wages. That is exactly what we said to them. Look into prices which are rising everyday. Surely they must do something about that,” said Dr Khupe.