How I set up Dialogue Between Mugabe and Tsvangirai – Kumbirayi Katsande

Retired business executive, Kumbirai Katsande speaks to Trevor Ncube about how he set up the first dialogue between late Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe and late MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Katsande said in 1998, there were mass stay aways in Zimbabwe organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. Gibson Sibanda was the President and Morgan Tsvangirai was the Secretary General.

Katsande says he was the new President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Stay aways were badly affecting business.

He decided to take action and set up a series of meetings with Morgan Tsvangirai where he convinced Tsvangirai to move from his original tough position. Katsande said he held at least 7 meetings with Tsvangirai and Sibanda.

Katsande says he then met with business leaders like Nhlanhla Masuku of ZNCC and discussed their position with them.

Katsande then arranged a meeting with Mugabe through labour minister Florence Chitauro.

Katsande said he met with Mugabe and convinced him that finding a solution was best for the country. Mugabe agreed and the result was the tripartite negotiating forum made up of labour, government and business.

Mugabe issued a statement and within one week the situation had been resolved.

Katsande said business in Zimbabwe should do more to initiate dialogue because the economy happens in business.