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Calls for NTA gain traction

By Wisdom Mumera

A deepening economic crisis obtaining in Zimbabwe which resulted in recent violent protests that left more than 12 people dead have resulted in intensified calls for the establishment of the National Transitional Authority (NTA).

The government has been struggling to contain the political and economic situation forcing President Emmerson Mnangagwa to abandon the World Economic Forum in Davos to return home whilst a bid to get financial assistance from South Africa hit a snag.

A resurgence of infighting in the ruling Zanu PF, the absence of rule of law and a perceived loss of foreign support for the government are some of the reasons why some experts have increased calls for a regenerative NTA.

Southern African Political Economic Series (SAPES Trust) director Dr Ibbo Mandaza and Political Scientist Tony Reeler alleged the absence of the rule of law in the country as a characteristic for the need for an NTA.

“In the absence of strict adherence to the Constitution our country has been reduced to lawlessness where the rule of law has been wholly overturned by the State.

“There is only one way forward. This is the national dialogue towards a National Transitional Authority, which is what churches and civil society have been calling for,” they said in a statement.

Dialogue for the NTA is supposed to include “national stakeholders, including direct citizen participation in which all the challenges can be addressed comprehensively to collective satisfaction”.

Opposition politicians such as MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Tendai Biti have previously advocated for the NTA arguing that if correctly framed it can be the way out of the current economic rot.

“The NTA will have timeframes and deliverables unlike the Government of National Unity (GNU) which had no such mechanisms to measure progress,” said Biti a few years ago.

On his return into the country President Mnangagwa vaguely spoke about the need for dialogue but his party’s old guard has been known to be wary of any such overtures.

Paul Mangwana, the party’s legal secretary has said MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa will have to approach President Mnangagwa for dialogue, not the other way round.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the shutdown killings, Chamisa has blocked any chances for dialogue before Mnangagwa fulfils a number of demands such as the release of those arrested in blanket victimization of perceived opposition supporters and members.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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