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Zimbabwe: MDC parties ready for talks
Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Herald Reporter
July 02, 2008
The Herald

THE two MDC parties yesterday said they were ready to engage Zanu-PF in dialogue, as that was the only way the country could overcome its current challenges.

In separate interviews, the two formations said there was urgent need to engage all political stakeholders in the discussions that should bring a lasting political settlement to the country.

This follows President Mugabe's call for dialogue among all political players in the country.

Speaking after being sworn in as Head of State on Sunday, President Mugabe said: "Indeed, it is my hope that sooner rather than later, we shall, as diverse political parties, hold consultations towards such serious dialogue as will minimise our differences and enhance the area of unity and co-operation."

Secretary-general for the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction Welshman Ncube said there was need for an urgent meeting between political parties in the country.

"Obviously, the next step is to convene an urgent meeting among political players. It has to be as inclusive as possible.

"We have always been ready for dialogue. We have been calling for dialogue, for a political settlement," he said.

He said dialogue should not be done through the media to avoid distortions, unless the contents for publication are agreed to.

"There is need for parties to stop talking through the media and maybe start by agreeing on what needs to be talked about, to draw out an agenda."

Ncube said apart from political parties, all other stakeholders with a role to play should be included in the dialogue.

Nelson Chamisa, the spokesperson for MDC-T, concurred with Ncube on the need for an urgent negotiated settlement.

"Our hope is to pursue dialogue to ensure that we have a negotiated settlement and understanding," he said.

He said MDC-T was in favour of dialogue for national healing.

Chamisa said all peace-loving Zimbabweans wanted dialogue aimed at ending the current economic, political and social challenges besetting the country.

He said the talks should be open and genuine.

"We are warm to a negotiated settlement and we believe that talking should be about genuine dialogue, not swallowing of one another," Chamisa said.

On Monday, traditional leaders welcomed dialogue between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations, saying this was the only way the current problems could be resolved.

Chief Fortune Charumbira, the president of the Chiefs' Council, said the traditional leaders were "very excited by President Mugabe's statement on dialogue" and challenged opposition parties to seriously consider talks.

"As traditional leaders, we support that and we hope the opposition would be forthcoming to the call made by the President to hold talks and work together as one family," Chief Charumbira said.

Zanu Ndonga also welcomed dialogue, saying it was in the best interests of the country but pointed out that it should not be confined only to Zanu-PF and the MDC formations.

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