Mnangagwa, Chamisa could meet soon

 Mnangagwa, Chamisa could meet soon
Published: 17 October 2019
ZANU-PF and MDC bigwigs have held a meeting to initiate dialogue between the two parties raising hopes that the much-needed direct talks between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa could happen soon, the Daily News reported.

This comes as the country's economy continues to decline precipitously resulting in all government workers threatening to go on strike immediately, as fears of civil unrest by long-suffering Zimbabweans also escalate.

The informal meeting between Zanu-PF and MDC big guns also comes as more and more ruling party officials are agitating for Mnangagwa and Chamisa to set aside their political differences and work together, in the interests of the burning country.

However, there remains a sizeable number of hardliners within Zanu-PF who are completely opposed to the mooted talks which many Zimbabweans see as the only way of rescuing the country from its deepening economic rot.

Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that MDC top officials had visited the ruling party headquarters recently to push for "bilateral talks".

"A few of them (MDC officials) have been here (at Zanu-PF headquarters) and my position as the secretary-general of the party is that they should formalise their engagements to show that they are coming from Chamisa, so that I can also progress it accordingly to my superiors.

"It is a good idea that we engage (with Chamisa) ... we are all Zimba- bweans. The president is very clear and he means what he says (about the need to have inclusive talks).

"I have found him to be a listening president. You read about what people say about him, which is totally not what he is.

"I engage with him as one of his subordinates ... he is genuine. He wants Zimbabweans to work together and get along in bettering the lives of our people," Mpofu said.

Contacted for comment, MDC officials referred the matter to Chamisa's spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, who would only say that it was "not a good idea to comment".

However, authoritative sources told the Daily News that some MDC officials had indeed met with Mpofu and other senior politburo members where they emphasised the fact that the country had reached "dangerous levels which require both parties to initiate dialogue", as well as one-on-one meetings between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.

It also emerged yesterday that a further meeting has been arranged for the MDC officials and their Zanu-PF counterparts to "exchange more notes" in this regard.

Mnangagwa has been at logger-heads with Chamisa since last year's hotly-disputed elections, which the youthful opposition leader alleged were rigged in favour of the Zanu-PF leader.

But Mnangagwa's victory was later upheld by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that Chamisa had failed to provide evidence that he had won the polls.

Since then, Mnangagwa, who was initially feted like a king when he replaced the late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017 following a popular military coup has found himself and his government facing criticism over their stewardship of the country.

The worsening economic rot has triggered waves of dissent by long- suffering citizens, who are reeling from price hikes, soaring inflation and other myriad problems.

In response, authorities have resorted to using disproportionate force, including deploying troops to break up demonstrations.

In the meantime, there has been a groundswell of voices including those of the church, some Zanu-PF officials and the international community pushing for dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.

At the weekend, vocal Zanu-PF youth league national political commissar, Godfrey Tsenengamu a fierce backer of Mnangagwa joined the growing number of influential people calling for dialogue between the two men.

"President Mnangagwa has said it ad infinitum that we should dialogue ... we want that initiative to start now because we have also heard Advocate Chamisa saying let's dialogue.

"I feel there are people who want the stand-off to continue, people who are afraid of losing their positions in Cabinet and also in the civil service.

"I am going to do whatever it takes to ensure that the two leaders meet because we are all Zimbabweans and need each other," Tsenengamu told the Daily News earlier this week.

Last Thursday, firebrand war veterans' chairperson and former Cabinet minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa, also challenged Mnangagwa and Chamisa to work together for the nation's good.

Mutsvangwa, who was speaking at a discussion forum on the role of the State in safeguarding human rights that was convened by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday said the country's leaders should come together to solve the crisis.

"Why can't Nelson (Chamisa) and Mnangagwa say we can quarrel about our differences but let's get on a plane, go to London, Beijing, Washington and Tokyo and seek capital as Zimbabweans.

"Never in one day do they want to talk about that. I want to tell you that this economy does not wait for our quarrels ... we are continuing to slide into poverty," he said.

"We have brothers who quarrel the whole day, and then they burn the house at the end of the day as a spectacle for the village. And when the house is burnt, the villagers will go to sleep and they have nowhere to sleep.

"That's where we are today. We have to change the way we are doing things and realise that the sustenance of the economy is beyond party politics," Mutsvangwa further told the gathering.

He also said there were many examples of countries whose leaders had set aside their political differences with the opposition to focus on building their economies.

In August, Zanu-PF's Chivi South legislator, Killer Zivhu, also implored First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and Chamisa's wife, Sithokozile, to get their husbands to talk directly, in an effort to resolve Zimbabwe's deepening problems.

Zivhu, who was later suspended for his sensible suggestion, also said his constituents could not understand why the country's two main political leaders could not sit down and engage in dialogue adding that this was the reason why the villagers in Chivi South now wanted Mnangagwa and Chamisa's wives to intervene.

Last Tuesday, the European Union (EU) also ditched diplomatic etiquette by going to the Zanu-PF national headquarters in Harare, where it told the party's bigwigs that Mnangagwa needed to have dialogue with Chamisa urgently.

Mpofu later confirmed to the Daily News that EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, had visited the ruling party's headquarters to push for dialogue between the country's two major political parties.
- dailynews
Tags: Mnangagwa, Chamisa,


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