Dialogue framework

Inclusive Dialogue for National Reconciliation and Renewal Framework


Zimbabwe is a nation which experienced a poor Independence transition after a long period of colonialism and cultural identity loss. The post-Independence years have been characterised by political violence, endemic corruption and greed, deception, fragmentation and polarisation.

Service delivery has been worsening over the years and most of the inherited infrastructure is now broken and in disrepair. Most Industrial sites and broken roads provide a scene of ruins and desolations

The truth is ‘the system is broken and we the people are broken’ depicting the picture of the valley of dry bones in the book of Ezekiel.

The only way out of this brokenness and retrogression is through National Inclusive Dialogue for National Reconciliation and National Renewal as per the provisions proffered in this Dialogue Framework.

Dialogue Clusters – (In no particular order – promoting broad inclusive participation)

  1. Faith and Religion
  2. Civil Society and Labour Unions
  3. Marginalised Groups (Orphans; the elderly and people living with disabilities)
  4. Traditional and Community Leaders
  5. Business Community
  6. Political Parties
  7. Women
  8. Youth and Students
  9. Academia
  10. Media, Arts, and Music


  • Zimbabwean society is characterised by endemic corruption, poor leadership and bad stewardship; the people are very polarised tribally, spiritually and politically. There is no clear national identity hence society is fragmented and largely driven by self-interest
  • At Independence only about 20% of adults of working age were employed in the formal economy. This has experienced rapid shrinking over the course of time leading to the current economic crisis. Economic injustice is rampant; as natural and public resources continue to be plundered amidst our endemic corruption and bad stewardship reality.
  • The political, governance and service delivery system which we inherited in 1980 was created by the British settlers, from their British culture. This is at variance with our cultural development stage as Africans. This variance is largely responsible for our challenges and perpetual retrogression as a nation.


Zimbabwe is a nation experiencing perpetual retrogression. Amongst the main traditional leadership pillars or institutions, there doesn’t seem to be any with the will and capacity to avert this deepening crisis. We therefore believe that National Inclusive Dialogue for national reconciliation and national renewal is the main key transitional vehicle and process that will make a fresh start and renewal possible for all Zimbabweans.

Our Zimbabwean main narrative is of a people plagued with endemic corruption, deception and self- centeredness across the entire spectrum of society. Our Traditional and Christian values are disappearing fast; the village or community no longer raises a child; poor leadership and bad stewardship is endemic; talk about politicization and plunder of public institutions and national resources; but even worse (Idolatry) instead of worshipping God, most worship is now to the Pastor/ Man of God.

These issues have largely contributed to the retrogression and poverty of the nation. As such we need to first acknowledge this reality and adopt an Ubuntu type united front in order for us to renew and rebuild our nation. We believe that substantive inclusive dialogue under the principles of truth, justice, collective responsibility and forgiveness is the best way to obtain an amicable way forward for Zimbabwe

A key strength for proper national dialogues is that they operate outside the control of both government and political parties’ institutions, providing visionary citizens a blank page for creative out of the box thinking. Convened in the true spirit of truth and justice, inclusive dialogue provides an opportunity to bridge our deep fault lines enabling deeper constructive conversations.

A holistic vision is needed that speaks to this multi-dimensional crisis, progressive and sustainable nation building, globalisation and automation. This will require pooling talent and creativity from all sectors of society to come up with new and imaginative sustainable solutions central to which is a justice system anchored on the truth, collective responsibility and forgiveness; which will act as a crossing bridge from the current to a new Zimbabwe.

What is needed is a concerted effort to hold a dialogue that includes all sectors of society that seeks to promote greater unity and understanding amongst our vastly polarised communities. This dialogue can help articulate our shared vision and priorities and propel visionary, progressive social, cultural, economic, political and governance transformation across Zimbabwe.


From the onset at Independence, we should have had open inclusive dialogue to dream and agree our ideal Zimbabwe; our core cultural values and norms and a shared socio-economic, political and governance system. This did not happen, hence today’s chaos and anarchy of perpetual retrogression. We now have an opportunity through this dialogue process to underwrite a shared vision.

The specific dialogue objectives are as follows;

  1. People Relationships – Ubuntu: To agree a national identity (our core social and cultural values and norms) including mending of broken relationships through national reconciliation guided by the principles of truth, justice, collective responsibility and forgiveness.
  2. The Economy: To negotiate and put in place a just, value based economic system supported more by local human capital, natural resources, code of ethics and shared values as enshrined in our national identity.
  3. Politics and Governance: Renewal of the national social contract between the citizens and those in government plus agreeing a shared political and governance system based on the principles as agreed and enshrined in our National Identity.

Guiding Principles

This campaign or the national dialogue and reconciliation process shall be guided by the following principles;

  1. Remain neutral as in; apolitical, non-tribal and non-racial throughout this dialogue and reconciliation process
  2. Take collective responsibility for the past, the present and the future and forgive each other for the wrongs committed in the past
  3. Abide by our belief in the sovereignty of our country and that unity and peace in Zimbabwe is first by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans
  4. Holistic in bringing coverage to social, cultural, economic and political dimensions
  5. Home grown yet advancing internationally accepted standards
  6. Looking back to take stock of past and present but driven by future imagination for a new Zimbabwe
  7. Put Zimbabwe first; and coalesce on this campaign towards national reconciliation; a firm foundation for shared prosperity; national integration and sustainable nation building
  8. Anchored in the values of truth, Justice and national interest
  9. Honour and respectfully work with the government of the day
  10. Commit to and be guided by a shared national identity

The Dialogue Assembly

This shall comprise;

  1. The Conveners Team of Three to Five men and women who are the main custodians and referees of the Dialogue Process to ensure that it remains inclusive, just, fair and focused primarily on the common good and or national interest. These will also ratify the outcome of the dialogue process. Each of the two genders (Male and Female) must be represented by at least one person
  2. Two Hundred and Fifty Delegates (250) drawn from the ten (10) key stakeholder cluster groups as follows; Youth and Students, Women, Civil Society and Labour Unions, Business Community, Traditional and Community Leaders, Political Parties, Faith and Religion, Media – Arts and Music, Academia and Marginalized Groups. The Diaspora community must be integrated in these cluster groups.
  3. The Secretariat led by the Director and supported by cluster dialogue facilitators. The remit of this team is to coordinate, administrate and facilitate the entire dialogue process.


The Dialogue Process

Effective dialogue is about transformation, reconciliation and healing. To achieve this, the dialogue must be holistic and anchored on truth and justice. This is what is required to renew and restore life to Zimbabweans after many years of endless brokenness and retrogression.

An effective dialogue process thus entails the following key steps;

  1. The secretariat must put together a draft Dialogue Framework: A framework that captures the central key issues of the social, cultural, economic and political crisis of Zimbabwe and ensures an inclusive open just process for both their resolution and imagination towards a new shared vision.
  2. The secretariat team must put together a dialogue coordinating, leadership and convening team drawn from credible leading personalities in the nation. This team must have Gender balance and each team member must commit to work in an apolitical and inclusive Ubuntu
  3. The dialogue coordination and leadership team must formally review, approve and adopt the dialogue framework and ensure that it captures all the necessary and key aspects that will give effect to a substantive, inclusive, just and credible dialogue, reconciliation and national renewal process
  4. The secretariat must put together draft dialogue discussion questions to initiate a structured dialogue engagement process. These questions must be comprehensive and substantive enough to address all the fundamental key foundational issues and draft answers must be developed for each question
  5. A formal review of the dialogue questions will follow and will be done by the dialogue coordination and leadership team. This review shall ensure that; a) every key question has been included and adequately captured and that an appropriate and substantive answer has been proffered, and b) the questions remain focused on the key foundational objectives and those outside this strict criterion are removed. Once reviewed and approved, these dialogue questions become official.
  6. The secretariat working in partnership with the dialogue coordination and leadership team, armed with the official dialogue framework and dialogue discussion questions, must proceed to reach out, search and assemble a credible Dialogue Assembly of men and women to represent each dialogue cluster. These cluster delegates must be people who are passionate about reconciliation, nationhood and the common good, and fully subscribe to the principles of truth, justice, collective responsibility and forgiveness
  7. Each cluster delegate, either alone or in consultation with the secretariat or dialogue coordination and leadership team must at some point have a formal review of the dialogue questions and submit to the secretariat their comments and views. This review and feedback process must continue simultaneously until all delegates have submitted their comments and input on the dialogue questions and process
  8. On the back of the feedback from the cluster delegates, the secretariat team will then proceed to put together the first draft of dialogue resolutions for review, approval and adoption first by the dialogue coordination leadership team and thereafter by the entire Dialogue Assembly.
  9. Once we have agreed a substantive dialogue framework, dialogue questions, dialogue assembly and dialogue resolutions; we will now be in a position to convene a formal dialogue conference for the ratification and formal adoption of these outcomes. A negotiation team will be put in place during this conference whose remit or mandate will be a negotiated settlement with the government of the day
  10. The dialogue resolutions once reviewed and approved by the dialogue coordination and leadership team, must be submitted to the strategic planning team to facilitate the substantive development of the architecture for effective operationalisation and Implementation of the dialogue resolutions within a given timeframe


The Reconciliation Process

Contestation for power through political violence has been the central nature of Zimbabwe’s political process. As a result, the people are very fearful, traumatised, broken and polarised. The reality is that the post-Independence Zimbabwean political system is a broken and dysfunctional democratic system. This system cannot be fixed overnight, and possibly not even in the next unforeseeable future; thus, a substantive and sustainable solution can only be found outside this broken system, hence this dialogue process.

Perceived or suspected perpetrators of political violence are presumably fearful of an objective and substantive reconciliation process. They may have fear of retribution and imprisonment. The reality is that some of these people could be in the corridors of power with direct control over some or all State instruments.

Given our political history and environment, only a negotiated settlement is deliverable through a national dialogue and reconciliation process. The challenge however given other political precedence across Africa is how to assure the fearful perpetrators that Zimbabweans will remain committed and faithful to the principle of collective responsibility during and after this dialogue and reconciliation process.

As hard and difficult as it is for some especially those who were hard hit by post-independence political violence, Zimbabweans must take collective responsibility for all the past wrongs (the perceived wrongs of the pre-colonial era, the wrongs of Gukurahundi and all the other chapters of political violence, poor leadership and bad stewardship) in order to create the necessary platform for inclusivity and shared responsibility to create our ideal nation.

We also pay tribute to those nations in the international community who have tried to assist Zimbabweans to overcome these challenges in various ways. Some of them went as far as imposing sanctions as leverage for political and economic reforms. After two decades, it is now fair to conclude that these sanctions by and large have not worked.

We hereby request the total removal of these sanctions including exempting Zimbabwe from the provisions of the International Court of Justice for the sole purposes of this dialogue and reconciliation process. Zimbabwe’s best chance to a proper dialogue process is when it is guaranteed a totally free internal process.

It is also necessary to exempt this dialogue and reconciliation process from the provisions of transitional justice and the present constitutional legal provisions to unlock the possibility of voluntary repentance and forgiveness. The Dialogue assembly shall agree a traditional organic framework/mechanism for reparations and or compensation.

Expected Benefits/Outcomes

This national dialogue must produce dividends such as a shared national identity, a social contract between citizens and government and a shared economic and political system. This first inclusive dialogue must remain very focused on these foundational objectives if we wish to deliver substantive and meaningful outcomes. Mending relationships through national reconciliation is the only other expected outcome. If these are broken down, they also give some indicators of success as shown in the table below;




1.1   This foundational dialogue process will enable Zimbabweans to agree a national identity

1.2   There will be acceptable resolution and closure regarding the hurts and negative effects from the violent conflicts and wrongs from the past

1.3   A firm foundation will be laid which will foster harmony and community cohesion, tolerance, respect for diversity and democratic development through truthful constructive engagement

2.1.  Zimbabweans will be able to agree a shared and clearly articulated economic national vision promoting industrial growth, care for the environment and maximization of the use of local resources rather than dependence on loans, grants and austerity measures from international financial institutions/foreign governments

2.2. All the necessary supportive constitutional amendments and legislative changes required to support this new system will be agreed and negotiated for implementation.

3.1.  A new social contract which clearly defines the relationship between the people and the government would be realized.

3.2.  Zimbabweans will also agree a new shared political and governance system. One which is relevant and suitable for our culture and development stage as Africans.

3.3.  Constitutional and legislative amendments would need to follow through to give effect and expedite the implementation of this new reality.


Implementation of Outcomes

The main summary dialogue outcomes which are ratified by the dialogue Assembly and formally adopted by the closing dialogue conference become the basis of the negotiation process which will be the immediate next process

The same closing Dialogue Conference will also present the negotiation team whose primary responsibility would be to negotiate the adoption and implementation of the dialogue outcomes with the government of the day.

It is possible that some of the outcomes will require an implementation methodology or strategy. The Strategic planning team in partnership with the secretariat must develop such needed strategic options and present to the Dialogue Assembly or Dialogue coordination and leadership team for ratification or approval.

The guarantors and financial donors of this dialogue and reconciliation process is primarily the Dialogue Assembly supported by the broader constituencies of each dialogue cluster. This will also be supported by church prayers and financial support both in Zimbabwe and across the globe.



If we start blaming each other for past wrongs; this dialogue process will stall and fail and we risk descending into a civil war. Following the example of Nehemiah in the bible let us take collective responsibility for the past; the present and also take collective responsibility to create a bright future together. We must also share responsibility to finance this campaign and not depend on charity or the international community

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