by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN President, Emmerson Mnsngagwa, has called for an all-inclusive dialogue to resolve economic and political problems in the wake of deadly anti-government protests in recent days.
He has advocated a meeting with all political parties, civic society, religious groups, industry and commerce to map strategies to resuscitate the country.
The president said the depth of the problems afflicting the country required the participation of other stakeholders and not only the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance.
“I invite leaders of all political parties as well as religious and civil leaders to set aside our differences and come together,” Mnangagwa said.
“What unites us is stronger than what could ever divide us. Let’s begin a national dialogue. Let’s put the economy first. Let’s put the people first,” Mnangagwa said.
He was speaking days after arriving from a tour of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia where solicited investments.
His stance was in contrast to his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, who was acting president when violent protests hit the country in the absence of Mnangagwa.
The announcement by the president (Mnangagwa) of a massive fuel price increase shortly before he left the country sparked the demonstrations.
A typical crackdown by state security forces left at least 12 people dead and hundreds arrested.
Property valued at $300 million (R1,4 billion) was destroyed during the countrywide protests.
“What followed (the fuel increase) was regrettable and tragic,” said Mnangagwa.
He denounced the violence, looting and burning of police stations.
“Everyone has the right to protest, but this was not a peaceful protest. This is not the Zimbabwean way,” Mnangagwa said.
By advocating for dialogue, he appears to have succumbed to local and international pressure. There have been calls for dialogue since he won contested elections last year. The military killed at least six people during post-poll demonstrations.
– CAJ News