IN 2008, Zimbabwe sank to its worst political, economic and social meltdown ever.
It was a culmination of a decade-long recession resulting from poor governance, political mudslinging and lack of international goodwill.
So bad was the situation that the entire nation went hungry, political opponents were on each other’s throats and Zimbabwe hogged international limelight for all the wrong reasons.
A disputed presidential election run-off in which the late former president Robert Mugabe was the sole candidate, all but made the situation grave, triggering intervention of the regional bloc Sadc after realising that the country was teetering on the brink of collapse.
Then South African President Thabo Mbeki was appointed mediator and began what was to be a protracted mission to find a solution which came in 2009 with the formation of the inclusive government.
Rivals, Mugabe’s Zanu PF, the later former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and MDC, then led by Arthur Mutambara, found themselves in an alliance that stabilised the situation.
The economy made tremendous recovery, the public health delivery system was revived and social development was noticeable.
But this only lasted during the five-year (2009 to 2013) duration of the inclusive government under the global political agreements the protagonists had signed.
Nine years later, the country’s political squabbling is far from over. The cacophony has spewed economic challenges for the motherland. Without fixing the politics, the economy will not recover.
This is precisely why an all-inclusive national dialogue is critical. Elections every five years have failed to resolve the political crisis in the country. In fact, after every election, the crisis gets deeper and unresolvable.
For the nation to have a lasting solution to the crisis, there is a need for all Zimbabweans to unite and map out the way forward for the country together. There is an urgent need for unity of purpose.
It is in this vein that the government should facilitate the church to lead the initiative for dialogue. The blocking of the church initiative last Friday by the police was unwarranted. Instead of blocking them, the church should have been encouraged to launch the initiative.
It is high time the individual ego be subordinated to the country’s cause. The country needs dialogue to save the flagging economy. Posterity will judge us harshly if we fail to engage in talks now to save this country from sliding into a failed state.