THE historic Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) launched in Harare yesterday will leave a legacy on the country’s political scene and help turnaround the country’s economy, President Mnangagwa has said.
In his key note address during the ceremony that was attended by 17 political parties which participated in last year’s harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa said the platform is designed to be a vibrant forum to proffer solutions to the challenges confronting the nation.
“The dialogue we are launching today will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on our country’s political landscape and help to contribute to the turnaround of the country’s socio-economic fortunes,” he said.
“This platform is designed to be a vibrant forum through which we proffer solutions to the challenges that confront us a nation, through peaceful, open and transparent discourse.
“The culture of dialogue we begin today must indeed be synonymous with us as a nation and as a people. This journey we are embarking on must ultimately lead us towards improving our democratic practices and culture. It must also lead us to a stage where we can compete and co-operate, always informed and guided by our national interests.”
The President reiterated that he was willing to take on board views from any Zimbabwean as he promised during his inauguration last year.
“Every Zimbabwean is important from Zambezi to Limpopo and from Mutare to Plumtree. As we are enjoined by our National Anthem, let us all lift high our national flag which is a symbol of freedom, independence and unity,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged all political party leaders to call for unconditional removal of sanctions to turnaround the fortunes of the country’s economy.
“As leaders, we must also pledge to be exemplary. Leaders of our nation at every level must say no to sanctions and say no to all conduct and speech that will bring harm to our people. It is when there is unity that God will command more blessings to our land,” he said.
President Mnangagwa called for the need to harness the abundant natural resources to turn around the country’s economy and improve the livelihoods of the people.
“The vast potential that this country possesses through its rich natural and human capital endowments needs to be harnessed by all of us working together as we seek to accelerate the achievement of Vision 2030 towards attaining upper middle income status.
“Through the Vision, we should be able to bequeath to current and future generations, a peaceful, united and prosperous nation which lives in harmony with all the progressive nations of the world. Dialogue like charity begins at home, and will enable us to speak with one voice as the re-engagement with other nations gathers pace,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to focus on national development.
“It does not serve any purpose to continue in an election mode when citizens are yearning for social economic transformation.
“The success of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and indeed the success of the five-year plans which will follow after 2020, requires that we harness our collective competencies and abilities for national progress and prosperity.
“We must close ranks, communicate, co-operate, build trust and instil hope among our fellow countrymen,” he said.
The parties involved in the dialogue, the President said, must adhere to the code of conduct which emphasises political tolerance and prohibits violence or the threat of the use of violence on fellow citizens as well as irresponsible utterances by any political leader.
“The code draws its content mainly from what I would term Covenant, which bound us as contestants to uphold peace over the period leading to last year’s harmonised general elections. In a clear testimony of our mature democracy, those among you who were in the country can attest to the unprecedented tranquility that prevailed in all corners of our great nation, ahead of the watershed elections.
“The code shall be binding on the leaders, their officials and supporters alike, in the observance of responsible conduct as we cascade the dialogue to the provinces,” he said.
The President added that cascading of the dialogue to the provinces was in line with the devolution principle.
The objective of devolution, President Mnangagwa said, was to give powers of local governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions that affect them, and to preserve and foster peace, national unity and indivisibility of Zimbabwe.
He added that budgetary disbursements to the provinces to support devolution have already commenced through local authorities with an obligation to identify development projects and programmes in their areas with high potential to create jobs and generate revenue.
In a related development, the President said an elaborate institutional framework for dialogue has already been developed since the inception of dialogue meetings.
“Our committee on agenda setting has already highlighted critical issues, chief among them, being the need to expedite the alignment of laws to the Constitution.
“The committee further stressed the need to resolutely stamp out corruption wherever it raises its ugly face, the need to tackle drug and substance abuse affecting especially our youth, and deepen the inclusion of youth, women and the disabled in all national development programmes. The committee also called for the unconditional removal of sanctions that are sapping the energies of our resilient and resourceful citizenry as well as inhibiting unfettered economic growth,” he said.
The President urged the media to play a constructive role in the dialogue, nation building and other critical national processes.