Former ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance President Nelson Chamisa must bury personal interests and find mechanisms to work together for the good of the nation.
He emphasized that dialogue has been the backbone of this country’s history dating back to the liberation struggle.
In an interview this week, Gumbo said it is only when leaders bury personal interest, egos and power retention that unity is found.
“We had an election in 2013, Mugabe won overwhelmingly and after winning again he said they had nothing to do with the opposition, the result is the problems that we are confronted.
“Now Mnangagwa after winning the July 2018 elections does not want to work with the opposition. My view is that this is not feasible because we are talking about half the voting population that Chamisa claims they voted for him.
“So you cannot ignore that reality because they are likely to resist,” he said.
Gumbo said this battle of egos has seen two incidents of a violent nature.
“We have seen the August 1 killings, people were shot. Now we have stay away and we are likely to have another stay away and resistance will continue,” Gumbo said.
Gumbo narrated the history of the country, giving instances where the leadership at that time had to accept that dialogue was needed in order to move forward.
“Divisions have been there since 1960s, there was unity of the nationalists movement from 1957 after the formation of ANC then during NDP. There was unity under the leadership of Mawema and Nkomo, then there was unity in ZAPU among the nationalists movement.
“But in 1963, the unity of the nationalists movement collapsed after the split of ZAPU where there was a formation of ZANU. The reason for the split was basically that some of the radical nationalists felt that Nkomo was not leading the movement properly.
“He was not decisive and was constitutionalist. He also misled other leaders on the formation of a government in exile. So the nationalists went out thinking they are going to form a government in exile, and it all turned out to be not true.
“After the split in 1963, which was felt throughout the country.
In 1962 ZAPU was banned and the nationalists were detained and some went into exile and in the end formed ZANU.
After ZANU was formed ZAPU started operating as People’s Care Taker Council (PCC). Both movements were banned in 1964 but the divisions continued into exile.
“When they went to Zambia, the division continued between ZAPU and ZANU outside the country. The divisions became so sharp in about 1970/71 when FROLIZI was formed. The movement was formed by Shamuyarira and Chikerema along ethnic lines.
“Shamuyarira came from ZANU, Chikerema came from ZAPU and both were Zezurus and they wanted to be in the leadership of the nationalists movement.
Shamuyarira and Chikerema went to Benghazi claiming that Florizi was the legitimate liberation movement.
“Then Chitepo and Jason Moyo of ZANU and ZAPU decided to form the Joint Military Command (JMC) which is very critical in terms of understanding the dynamics of unity and disunity.
“Then Chitepo and Moyo took their JMC to the OAU in 1971 in Benghazi, Libya and said we are the people who are on the ground, we have fighters on the ground, we are ready to go, we have united and so we are the recognized and legitimate liberation movement.
“They said Frolizi now represented by Siwela had no mass support as well as the fighting forces.
“So the OAU asked Chitepo and Moyo to demonstrate the power they had.
“So the OAU then decided they were going to continue recognising ZANU and ZAPU but under the JMC. Once the OAU declared support for the JMC all material, weapons, diplomatic and international support started flowing.
“Unfortunately the JMC took a bit of time to mature but the OAU liberation committee said they wanted a military structure and this resulted in the formation of Zimbabwe People’s Army (ZIPA).
“By 1974/75 there was so much support and the war intensified, then they all said again they wanted a political umbrella in order to support them. This led to the birth the patriotic front in 1976 which again brought unity and brought the people of Zimbabwe together,” he retraced.
“The Patriotic Front managed to go to Geneva in 1976 as a united body then finally they even went to Lancaster as a united body with the support of the international community until we achieved our independence.
“After Lancaster talks we agreed then that we must go to Zimbabwe united as Patriotic Front. This was generally agreed. The consensus was that a Patriotic Front will fight the elections united but Mugabe decided against it.
“Mugabe had managed to destroy ZIPA because he wanted ZANLA so that he can lead on his own. He didn’t like ZIPRA and ZAPU and this created a lot of problems resulting in ZIPRA commanders going back to Zambia while prominent Zanla commanders were arrested, detained and up to today they are in political quagmire.
“Then we said the Patriotic Front must be united, then we got into Zimbabwe but Mugabe changed his mind and decided to fight the elections alone or separately and the result was that ZANU was the outright winner.
“Mugabe gave limited government positions to ZAPU. But problems started developing a year or so, between 1981/82 which led to a civil war in Matabeleland which resulted in the death of about 20 000 people.
The gukurahundi episode took place for almost five years until 1987.
Gumbo said a civil war broke out because of divisions that emerged and the war had to be ended through a unity accord which gave birth to ZANU PF as it is known today.
“Again the issue of bringing together the opposition became a major factor and we were united in the Unity Accord and things started working well.
“From 1987 things went well but then in 2000 there was the emergence of a labour-movement-led opposition party led by Morgan Tsvangirai. The opposition party was formed as an aftermath of the economic austerity measures which government had introduced.
“The Mugabe government took various harsh measures against the opposition but they persisted until 2009 when the government forced into a Government of National Unity after disputed elections which again is precedent,” Gumbo said.
Gumbo said differences will always be there but there is the need to resolve the issues amicably and that only Zimbabweans can sort out the problems.
“We should not expect external solutions but we have to accept divergent views and focus on key issues rather than personalities.
“It is time we focus on key
issues instead of personal interests.”