Editorial Comment: Chamisa’s doublespeak worrisome

OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s indications that he will engage the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU) to intervene in Zimbabwe by pressuring President Emmerson Mnangagwa to a Government of National Unity (GNU) raise a lot of questions in light of contrary sentiments that he has made in the past.

Editorial Comment

It would appear the youthful opposition leader is dilly-dallying. On the one hand, he claims that Mnangagwa is an illegitimate leader and does not recognise him, and, on the other hand, now they are making overtures of unity — ostensibly to rescue the country from economic and political crises.

Chamisa told his supporters during a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday that “those occupying the high offices are not there through the democratic process of a free, fair and credible election, having imposed themselves” after the July 30 elections.

He then quickly claimed that Parliament was legitimate. How does it work then? How did he do his assessment when the same process was used to elect both the President and parliamentarians?

What is really needed is for both parties to find each other and make compromises because sticking to intractable positions will not help as none of the parties will budge.

The fact that Chamisa is now calling for a GNU creates the impression that he has had a change of heart, having earlier indicated that the only way forward should begin with officially reconfiguring the election results, which he claims should have been in his favour if the polls were credible.

The fact that things have really become tough for the ordinary person means the two leaders need to talk and come to an understanding that will work in favour of the population.

Given both men’s political positions and social status, it means they are generally beyond the reach of the pain that ordinary citizens are going through.

Chamisa’s present demands for a resolution of the crisis of legitimacy and call for national dialogue among all key stakeholders to discuss, and resolve key issues including constitutional, electoral and legal reforms, harmonisation of Zimbabwe’s laws to the new Constitution, among others creates an impression that he is now forward-looking, which in a way is a good thing given that there is no way Mnangagwa is stepping down before he completes his term.

It is also important for Mnangagwa to also make certain concessions so he can work together with the opposition so that the country can move forward.