VICE President Constantino Chiwenga has pleaded with church leaders to engage opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa to convince him to join the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD).
POLAD was created by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018 and comprises of Zanu PF and other parties that failed to win anything significant in that year’s election.
Chamisa, who was then MDC Alliance leader, refused to join the organisation, arguing he won the ‘rigged’ 2018 presidential election.
Addressing heads of Christian denominations in Harare Thursday, Chiwenga urged churches to help influence Chamisa to change his mind and join POLAD saying this would help reduce conflict in the country.
“I appeal to you as our spiritual leaders to impress upon those leaders who are not willing to join others under the Political Actors Dialogue to have a change of heart and put the interests of the nation ahead of their own political interests. They should desist from their destructive path of achieving political power through unconstitutional means,” Chiwenga said.
“Threats to make this country ungovernable on account of one person losing an election have been uttered publicly. In my view, you as church leaders, as the conscience of our nation, should speak loudly condemning such counterproductive utterances. Such a fatal mission only takes our country backwards and is not helpful to anyone,” he said.
“Under the agenda Item 8 you (church leaders) were proposing the idea of a comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue, an omnibus approach carrying everyone on board to resolve the problems and challenges facing our nation. Under the Second Republic we are not averse to dialogue and POLAD is ample testimony of our desire to engage among ourselves as Zimbabweans,” added.
“We are also aware that there are others in the opposition who do not want to see credible elections pronounced in Zimbabwe when they lose those elections. It is public knowledge that they have declared that they must win tomorrow’s elections and the 2023 harmonized general elections failing which they would not concede defeat. This is where we appeal to you as Church leaders to try and impress upon them to respect the will of the people in electing a political party of their choice.”
“Zanu PF or opposition, you should respect our national democracy and allow the will of the people to prevail. There are always winners and losers in any election, those who win should be modest in victory and those who lose should accept their defeat gracefully,” said the former army chief.