The European Union (EU) has said there is a need for social dialogue in Zimbabwe to resolve the country’s economic crisis now threatening the social fabric.
Zimbabwe’s troubled economy is taking a toll on ordinary citizens, who are struggling to make ends meet at a time when the local currency is fast depreciating while prices of basic commodities are beyond the reach of many.
The education and the health sectors have not been spared from the effects of a failing economy with teachers and nurses no longer performing their duties as expected.
The government and civil servants are in a salary deadlock, with the latter demanding to be paid salaries equivalent to US$475 for the lowest-paid worker.
The ruling ZANU-PF party is however in talks with opposition parties that contested the 2018 polls, save for the main opposition MDC led by Nelson Chamisa.
The dialogue, known as the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), has not produced any tangible results on the ground, with the country’s economic situation has further worsened since the talks began in February last year.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo Wednesday, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, said only a comprehensive dialogue could help resolve the country’s problems.
“To start with, we clearly see that there is a need for national dialogue,” said Olkkonen.
“This is clear; Zimbabwe is experiencing a lot of issues on the economic forum. On the social sector also we have quite concerning stories on how the economic crisis is having a negative influence on the social fabric in many places.”
The envoy said it was clear that the country has a humanitarian crisis, adding the problems bedeviling the country have a political dimension to them.
Olkkonen bemoaned the country’s polarised political environment, adding only dialogue was the solution.
“We have also been in favour of having a dialogue going on,” explained the diplomat.
“It has to be comprehensive. But exactly how, on that, we would not be prescriptive.”
He said while they would not tell Zimbabweans how to dialogue, it was important that talks take everyone on board to ensure concerns of the majority are addressed.