‘Father Mukonori is losing respect due to his bias towards Mnangagwa’
Roman Catholic cleric, Father Fidelis Mukonori who has been critical in fostering dialogue between the two main competing political parties in Zimbabwe is now being accused of losing respect due to his alleged bias towards current President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This comes after Father Mukonori came out this week advising opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa to accept that he was defeated in the August 23, 2023 disputed harmonised general elections.
The religious leader who is respected for his involvement in brokering the 2009 to 2013 Government of National Unity (GNU) that brought together Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, urged Chamisa to seek dialogue with Mnangagwa who controversially won with 52,6% while Chamisa got 44%.
The main opposition leader has refused to endorse the results and called for a fresh plebiscite.
Responding to Father Mukonori’s sentiments, CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said the popular cleric had lost the respect of Zimbabweans due to his alleged partisan way of handling political disputes.
As a case study, Mkwananzi cited Father Mukonori’s role in Mnangagwa’s military coup which ousted the late former President Robert Mugabe.
“While Father Mukonori, has for years been a respected Father figure of the church in Zimbabwe, his conspicuous role in the events that led to the deposing of President Robert Mugabe through a coup by Mr. Mnangagwa diminished his societal standing and respect he once enjoyed,” he said.
“His skewed statements in today’s Herald Newspaper further affirm the questions which Zimbabweans have about the relationship Father Mukonori has with the Mnangagwa regime.
“Father Mukonori ought to extricate himself from this partisan position if he is to retain the respect which he commanded over the years.
“At the very least, the electoral sham of August 2023 did not pass the test for an election. In other words, the events of the 23rd and 24th of August 2023 cannot be a basis for Father Mukonori to talk about ‘winners and losers’.
“This is the position commonly held by all observer Missions that observed the elections.
“In short, if ever there would be dialogue in Zimbabwe, it would not take place on the basis of a winner and a loser but on the basis of two of Zimbabwe’s political leaders namely President Nelson Chamisa and Mr. Mnangagwa.
“Their dialogue would need to take place outside the purview of the ill-fated and illegal POLAD Framework-a feeding trough for fringe political “leaders” who only care about their stomachs and the benefits extended to them by Mr. Mnangagwa to undermine the leading party in Zimbabwe: CCC.”
Mkwananzi said any genuine dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa should be underwritten by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and involve the church, civil society, business, women, youth, informal traders among other key sectors of the society.
“Accordingly, a genuine bilateral framework for dialogue will need to be facilitated between the two political leaders. In addition the dialogue must include several other key Stakeholders such as the church, civil society, Business, women, youth, informal traders etc.
“The dialogue must be underwritten by SADC from the outset and be confined to only one objective: To establish a Transitional Authority whose sole mandate would be to deal with all issues that hinder a free and fair election in Zimbabwe such as the disbanding of ZEC, political and media reforms etc and the conduction of a fresh, free & fair election within the shortest practicable time to save Zimbabwe and indeed the region which may suffer the most from the spillover effects of Zimbabwe’s incessant electoral disputes,” he added.
International observers said Zimbabwe’s 2023 election did not meet the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and religional standards on elections.