ZANU PF and the MDC Alliance were Monday absent from a Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHCD) meeting held in Harare to consult stakeholders on the formation of a national dialogue process.
At least 17 political parties attended the meeting with the church leaders at Kentucky Hotel.
However, conspicuous by their absence were bitter rivals in Zanu PF and MDC Alliance presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa.
“MDC Alliance withdrew at the last minute and no reason was given,” Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) secretary general Kenneth Mtata told NewZimbabwe.com.
However, Mtata could not explain why Zanu PF’s Mnangagwa had also failed to show up.
He said the meeting was part of a series of consultations lined up by church leaders to find consensus on the long-standing challenges facing Zimbabwe.
“Today’s (Monday) meeting is a culmination of a week of extensive bilateral engagements in which even those political parties that did not attend today’s meeting gave input,” the ZHCD said in a statement after the meeting.
“Among the challenges raised by the participants were the need for everyone to realise that the nation is in an emergency situation.
“It was noted with concern that the current state of the health sector characterised by the failure by government to amicably resolve the protracted strike by medical personnel, did not augur well with the desperate need to prepare for the spiralling cases of Covid-19.
“Coupled with this was the realisation that the resources mobilised for the pandemic were not being handled in ways that instilled confidence to the public. There was a huge outcry among the participants regarding the failure to implement the Constitution.”
The ZHCD statement added: “While some participants raised concerns on the integrity of the current Constitution, there was unanimity that it was supposed to be implemented before it can be amended.
“The participants agreed that the failure to implement and honor the Constitution had seen an increase in fear among citizens confronted by violence and many unresolved cases of abductions and systematic torture at the hands of persons alleged to be State functionaries.”
Politicians and political parties represented at the meeting included; Build Zimbabwe, Mthwakazi Republic Party, Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, Nkosana Moyo (APA), Jealousy Mawarire, Linda Masarira (LEAD) and MDC-T’s Paurina Mpariwa.