SIMBA RUSHWAYA/CHENGETAI ZVAUYA
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru were the notable absentees when President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday held the inaugural national dialogue meeting at State House.
However, leaders of smaller opposition parties such as MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe, Elton Mangoma (Coalition of Democrats), Nkosana Moyo (Alliance for People’s Agenda) and independent candidate Brian Mteki attended the meeting.
In a letter dated February 6 2019 addressed to chief secretary in the office of the president and cabinet Misheck Sibanda, chief of staff in Chamisa’s office Sessel Zvidzai said it was the party’s “considered view that at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe is the disputed presidential election result and the associated governance issues”.
“In view of this, the MDC’s position is that the dialogue process must be convened by an independent mediator and not one of the disputants. In this respect the MDC believes that genuine dialogue can only take place if regionally facilitated and mediated by SADC and guaranteed by the AU and the UN,” wrote Zvidzai.
Among other conditions, the largest opposition movement wants immediate “cessation of all forms of violence against the people including rape, killings, shootings, torture, abductions as well as a genuine and transparent process to bring to book those responsible for killing, maiming and raping defenceless citizens”.
MDC Alliance chief whip Prosper Mutseyami told Business Times that his party leadership had made a decision not to participate in the post-election discussion.
“The national executive met council today and a decision was taken that we are not going to participate in the dialogue as a party, so you cannot expect to see our president and other top leaders of he party at the talks. Let the small parties discuss amongst themselves as we are not part of it,” he said.
Briefing political parties at the meeting, President Mnangagwa urged political parties to accept the results of the July 30 elections.
“In view of the 30 July results and the subsequent Constitutional Court pronouncement, I suggest that we all accept the results of the will of the Zimbabwean people in order for us to focus on the next elections which are due in 2023,” he said.
“It is my hope that the inaugural dialogue by our political parties will provide a firm foundation upon which together and without undue foreign interference, we can build the Zimbabwe we all want.”
President Mnangagwa called for a national dialogue after a three-day stay away that crippled the country’s economy and turned riotous in the aftermath of a 150% fuel hike. Several buildings were damaged, while shops were looted in the ensuing melee which also claimed the lives of 12 people.