Zanu-PF, MDC big guns push for Mnangagwa, Chamisa talks

Published: 17 October 2019
MANY Zimbabweans have welcomed the tentative moves to end months of political brawling in the country between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa - through the holding of direct talks between the two men, the Daily News reported.

This comes as the MDC yesterday reiterated its commitment to inclusive national dialogue about the country's present and future, which it wants brokered by an impartial mediator from Sadc or the Africa Union.

Many long-suffering Zimbabweans told the Daily News yesterday that now was the time for the country's political elites to put their differences aside in the interests of the nation — as people had "suffered enough" from the worsening economic rot.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Edlred Masunungure, said both Mnangagwa and Chamisa had to "seize the moment" and engage in dialogue.

"This (their talking) would be a very good development ... as they would be saying that as Zanu-PF and MDC they care about the people's plight.

"The informal talks should lead to serious talks as the country is heading towards a complete collapse ... both parties have an obligation to find each other for the good of the economy," he said.
Another political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, also challenged both Zanu-PF and the MDC to bury their differences and resolve the country's deepening economic problems.

"It's probably the best news Zimbabwe has heard in a long time. Zimbabwe will be far better if Chamisa and Mnangagwa can articulate a common vision for this country and set aside their political differences

"If they agree on how to solve the current economic situation, this will help Zimbabwe. What we also need is a transitional mechanism to prepare for the 2023 elections.

"The question, however, is whether this will see things moving forward, if there are some who are benefiting from this crisis who will resist these moves," Mukundu said.

On his part, Namibia-based scholar Admire Mare said the talks would help solve the country's political legitimacy crisis.

"I honestly believe that political dialogue is the first stage towards the resolution of the Zimbabwean question.

"Elections, in as much as they are part of democratic transitions and regime change, often further divide the country to a point where only national reconciliation, shared vision, healing, institutional and legal reform are fundamental for true democratisation to take place.

"This political dialogue will unlock a lot of things at the centre of the current socio-economic and political crisis," Mare told the Daily News.

The church also said it welcomed the "movement" towards talks between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.

"The beginning of informal talks should eventually culminate in a more inclusive process, whose agenda is pro-people and pro-development

"Dialogue is always the best way, and even the country's liberation struggle ended up with talks," the outspoken leader of the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny church, Ancelimo Magaya, said.
The founder of Life and Liberty Churches International, Dr Noah Pashapa, also said the mooted talks were a step in the right direction.

"Both leaders have become increasingly aware of the views of Zimbabweans across the political divide, who are clamouring for political dialogue at many levels that transcend personal or partisan political interests, and also prioritise the national interest.

"Given that it has become increasingly likely that digging their heels into partisan or personal power posturing trenches may create political space out of which a third political force may evolve to supersede both Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance, both leaders have heeded advice from voices of reason in their parties and among their advisors to be seen by Zimbabweans to be committed to meaningful inter-party dialogue notwithstanding their different interpretations of the ‘national problem' and they remedy," he said.

The president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Peter Mutasa, said his organisation's long-standing position was that the country required inclusive national dialogue which took into account the concerns of all stakeholders.

"The government has many disputes with different stakeholders. While political parties are raising legitimacy questions based on disputed elections, labour and citizens believe government policies and programmes lack legitimacy.

"These issues can only be resolved through a broad based, genuine and inclusive process ... our challenges cannot be resolved though a political dialogue only.

"We need a new economic, social and political order. Anything else will not last," Mutasa said.

The convener of Citizens' Manifesto a coalition of more than 23 civil society organisations Briggs Bomba also said an inclusive national dialogue was long overdue.

"However, talks must include civil society at the table. It cannot be just political parties talking to each other," he said.

On Tuesday, Zanu-PF confirmed that an informal approach had been made by MDC officials to initiate talks that would eventually lead to direct dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.

The informal meeting between Zanu-PF and MDC big guns also came 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.

Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, confirmed to the Daily News that MDC top officials had visited the ruling party's headquarters recently to motivate 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 Zimbabweans. 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.

But Chamisa's spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, 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 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 loggerheads 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.

he 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 demonstrations.
- dailynews
Tags: Mnangagwa, Chamisa,


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