FORTHRIGHT Zanu PF politburo member and former Cabinet minister, Tshinga Dube, has once again warned that only dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the opposition will save the country from plunging into civil strife and total implosion.
Speaking to the DailyNews in another interview yesterday, the respected former military officer and freedom fighter also said it was time that both the ruling Zanu PF and Parliament persuaded Mnangagwa to initiate the much-needed national dialogue in the interests of the country.
This comes as political tensions continue to rise in the country, attracting the attention of both the region and the broader international community, following last month’s foiled anti-government mass protests.
Dube told the DailyNews yesterday that it was particularly important that there was earnest and urgent engagement between Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
“There is an urgent need for people to sit down and talk at this moment. Such talks are inevitable. President Mnangagwa and Chamisa must talk to save the people of Zimbabwe.
“We have a lot of institutions such as Cabinet, the (Zanu PF) politburo, central committee and Parliament.
“I believe all these institutions must now engage the president and implore him to appreciate the need for talks,” Dube told the DailyNews.
The former War Veterans minister also said the biggest threat facing Mnangagwa’s rule was the country’s shrinking economy — warning further that rising poverty would drive Zimbabwe into civil strife.
“The solution is peace. We must bring peace in the country. Our economy is not performing well. We are concentrating too much on politics.
“Let’s work on the economy…There is also a need to solve problems affecting the health sector rather than concentrating on politics.
“If I get a chance to talk to the president, I would say to him let’s create a peaceful environment, improve our economy and talk to all stakeholders,” Dube added.
This is not the first time that the straight-talking Dube — who is a well-known Mnangagwa backer — has called for dialogue to end the country’s worsening political and economic crises.
In May, Dube called on Mnangagwa to form a government of national unity (GNU) with the opposition to lift the country out of its quagmire.
Speaking in that exclusive interview with the DailyNews then, Dube said Zimbabweans needed to put aside their political differences in the interests of the country.
“At the current rate, it will take a long time for us to get it right. I have always said economics and politics are like two legs of men.
“If the other leg is dysfunctional, the other won’t be able to walk straight. You cannot have a good economy where there is no good politics.
“I am … calling for a government of national unity, not because there is a vacancy … but I feel it will make us focus on running the economy only, instead of spending so much time fighting and squabbling over politics,” Dube told the Daily News then.
“All these things we are hearing about abductions and torture are caused by divisions, and they affect the reputation of our country.
“So, if they (politicians) can come together, all this will be over … and we don’t lose anything as a nation. But there are some people in government who feel that maybe if this GNU comes into effect, they will lose their positions,” the former Zipra bigwig further told the DailyNews.
“But we are not looking at that, we are looking at the development of the country. Look at how neighbouring countries are fast developing ahead of us.
“Everyone here is thinking about power. Where have you seen a country with 23 people aspiring to be a president?
“It’s not surprising that in the next elections, this number may double,” Dube added — referring to the record number of people who stood as presidential candidates in the disputed 2018 national elections.
This comes as Mnangagwa, who ascended to power via a popular military coup in November 2017, has come under growing pressure from long-suffering Zimbabweans over his government’s failure to mend the country’s broken economy.
As a result of Zimbabwe’s worsening rot, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has stepped in to try and end the country’s crises, which have once again attracted international attention — following the government’s alleged breach of human rights during last month’s foiled protests.
Ramaphosa has appointed special envoys — former South Africa vice president Baleka Mbete and ex-ministers Sydney Mufamadi and Ngoako Ramatlhodi — to try and end Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic crises.
The appointment of the envoys came after authorities were accused of gross human rights violations, following the government’s heavy deployment of police and soldiers ahead of the foiled July 31 mass protests.
Rights groups have claimed that dozens of opposition figures and activists were tortured and assaulted in a retributive exercise by suspected security agents.
On its part, the government has refuted the allegations — claiming instead that the opposition is allegedly working with foreigners to destabilise the country.
South Africa and its leaders — including former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma — have in the past successfully mediated Zimbabwe’s political crises.
A decade ago, both Mbeki and Zuma helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between former opposition giant Morgan Tsvangirai and former president Robert Mugabe — who are both late — following the hotly disputed 2008 presidential election.
Zuma also assisted in minimising Zimbabwe’s chaotic approach to the equally disputed 2013 national elections.
Both Chamisa and Mnangagwa have previously said that they were interested in dialogue, although nothing concrete has happened — primarily because of differences over the form and platform on which the talks should take place.
On his part, Mnangagwa has been consistent that any talks with Chamisa should be held under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) — where he regularly holds meetings with fringe opposition leaders.
Chamisa himself has repeatedly ruled out joining Polad — demanding instead direct dialogue with Mnangagwa.