Dialogue: Chamisa in dramatic U-turn

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
MDC-Alliance president Mr Nelson Chamisa has made a major climb-down on his hardline stance against inter-party dialogue and called for an engagement between him and President Mnangagwa to tackle national challenges affecting the country.

In a clear about-turn, Mr Chamisa said he was willing for a direct engagement with President Mnangagwa to discuss political, economic and social issues affecting the country, while the party’s spokesperson, Mr Jacob Mafume, said they were willing to compromise on their previous demands.

Some of the demands by the MDC-Alliance, described by some political analysts as bizarre, included the establishment of a Transitional Authority to run Government.

Other demands included opening up debate on President Mnangagwa’s legitimacy which has long been concluded by the Constitutional Court which upheld his election victory after Mr Chamisa approached the superior court challenging the July 30, 2018 election results.

Mr Chamisa posted a conciliatory message on his Twitter account at the weekend where he called for people to rise above party politics.

“Where we are going now requires us to think and act like Zimbabweans. Our dire situation is no longer about MDC or Zanu-PF but about Zimbabwe. We have a nation to build and a generation to defend. We have power,” said Mr Chamisa in his message.

When contacted to unpack his message, Mr Chamisa said his message was self-explanatory.

“We need to put an end to these economic problems for the sake of ourselves and our children. That is the import of the message I posted on my Twitter account. It is very clear and self-explanatory. You can as well get hold of our party spokesperson,” said Mr Chamisa.

Mr Mafume said they were keen to have a direct engagement with President Mnangagwa to discuss several issues affecting the country.

“In the current context we have proffered that as a solution, we need a one-on-one meeting underpinned by the five-point plan. As a party, the president has been given the full mandate to engage in any process that will bring about an end to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe and he is providing a framework to that,” said Mr Mafume.

“We have put our position paper and it cannot be abandoned in the air. Anyone who is serious about dialogue also has to put forward their proposition and we take it from there.”

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu said President Mnangagwa was on record as saying he welcomed dialogue from all stakeholders. “That is what our President has always been saying that he is ready for genuine and unconditional dialogue. He has always said his door is open and ready to engage political parties or anyone and build Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mpofu.

President Mnangagwa has also called for open dialogue aimed at discussing political disturbances that occurred in the eighties in the Matabeleland provinces commonly known as Gukurahundi.

He said debate on the Gukurahundi issue should have started a long time ago and resolution of some of the issues finalised back then. The Head of State challenged the nation to open discussions on the subject, which was regarded as taboo in the past.

He said his recent engagement with the Matabeleland Collective, an umbrella body of civil society organisations from the region, was eye-opening regarding issues of neglect that the people in the south and south-western region felt so strongly about.

And the meeting, the first of its kind between the people and the Republican President, was instructive as it resulted in the creation of a matrix of implementation of issues raised by the people of Matabeleland.

The President made these remarks in an interview with the national broadcaster ZBC last week ahead of this year’s 39th Independence Day celebrations.