Chamisa makes fresh call for talks with Mnangagwa

 Chamisa makes fresh call for talks with Mnangagwa
Published: 12 July 2019
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, yesterday made a fresh call for talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, warning that time was running out to address the country's worsening economic riot.

This comes as Zimbabwe is in the middle of a huge economic crisis which has seen official inflation nearing 100 percent, amid worsening power cuts and shortages of critical medicines and fuel.

The MDC leader has snubbed a political dialogue initiated by Mnangagwa, which has been attended by smaller parties. Chamisa says he wants a neutral mediator with an African Union and United Nations mandate.

With Mnangagwa appearing reluctant to accede to the MDC's demands, Chamisa said the MDC was planning street action to apply pressure.

"We're going to have a peaceful and radical engagement with the problems of our country including confronting what has to be confronted in terms of the constitution. The constitution allows for a demonstration. Leaders are changed through political pressure, and also through an election. Where an election fails to do its mandate, political pressure becomes a necessity as in our circumstances," said Chamisa.

The MDC leader said they would invite trade unions, churches, and like-minded parties to "come together to build political pressure using peaceful citizen action."

Saying the MDC would move with urgency, Chamisa said Zimbabwe was facing a "catastrophe". Shortages of electricity, bread, fuel and water in cities have put Zimbabweans on edge, the MDC leader said.

"Zimbabwe is burning. The country is in the throes of a serious political and socio-economic crisis. The resolution of this crisis has become a matter of extreme urgency. It is clear that soft-landing the crisis has to be done to avert an impending and inevitable implosion. Zimbabwe is heading for a disaster, it's facing an abyss. Bold steps must be taken to avoid catastrophe," he said.

Dialogue with Mnangagwa's Zanu-PF was "an imperative, a necessity", Chamisa said. But if that failed, the MDC would go into the streets. Opposition protests in August last year and January this year were crushed after Mnangagwa deployed the military, killing over two dozen people.

He added: "If you're able to save lives, to have a dialogue to resolve the key questions of your country, why can't you do that?"

A gulf still exists between the MDC and Zanu-PF over the dialogue process. Mnangagwa maintains that he has invited every opposition party to his process being led by the Peace and Reconciliation Commission. His supporters also say Chamisa must recognise the 74-year-old as the legitimately elected leader before a sit-down.

"We want dialogue that is bankable and irreversible," said Chamisa. "It must be scaffolded, underwritten and guaranteed by the international community and the people of Zimbabwe. There must be a mutually accepted facilitator and interlocutor. We're not going to accept this thing of Mr Mnangagwa of bringing his own appointed commissions and saying they must be adjudicators. They can't. They don't have the stamina, national or international, to be able to withstand the kind of political conflict that is there.

"In any event you can't have dialogue of people who are like-minded; dialogue is between those who're disagreeing. Our fundamental disagreement is that Mr Mnangagwa was not elected, he's saying he was elected so we must resolve that. He has said drop the legitimacy issue, I'll not drop it because that's my trump card to my dialogue with him.

"If he's saying he's legitimate and I accept that he's legitimate, why should I dialogue with him? He would go ahead and lead the country, and I would lead the opposition. The issue of who has been given the mandate must be resolved first."
- zimlive - dailynews
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