Chamisa again sets conditions for talks with ED

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Chengetai Zvauya

The opposition MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, has said he is prepared to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa provided a “mutually respected adjudicator, local or international, and preferable a former head of state” chairs the talks.

“I am ready to meet President Mnangagwa for a political dialogue that is needed in the country to help us to unlock the legitimacy crisis in the country, so that he can be accepted by everyone and the country can get the financial aid it needs,”Chamisa said.

“We need to sit down with President Mnangagwa representing Zanu PF and ourselves as MDC Alliance, and the meeting should be chaired by a mutually respected adjudicator, local or international, and preferable a former head of state.”

Chamisa said he was against the current scenario where “Mnangagwa is chairing the meeting and selecting the people he wants to discuss with”. This, he said, would not take the country forward.

President Mnangagwa briefed the leaders of the other political parties at the inaugural post-election dialogue in February on the need to work together for the betterment of the country.

 “The talks that Mnangagwa is holding with the other 21 political parties is a ‘muppet show’ as the political parties don’t represent anyone,” Chamisa said. “We need serious and genuine political talks with him. I represent a vibrant political party which has a high number of parliamentary seats, controlling many urban council seats, and our party had over 2.6 million votes in the July presidential election.”

In February, Chamisa snubbed the dialogue convened by Mnangagwa in the State House.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya- Moyo, said his party was ready to engage any political party to help move the country forward.

“The President is in a dialogue with other political parties and if the MDC Alliance has a change of heart, and wants to join the other political parties in the  dialogue, it is acceptable as we have not refused to talk to them. But the MDC Alliance must not set terms and conditions for the discussions,” Moyo said.

Analysts say dialogue between the President and Chamisa will help address the deteriorating economic environment, which has seen prices of basic commodities trebling at a time when the salaries of the majority of workers in the country, especially those in the private sector, have not increased.