Nelson Chamisa, the country’s main opposition leader, has been told to accept that he is the official leader of the opposition to allow dialogue to commence between him and President Emmerson Mnangagwa. According to Nick Mangwana, the permnanet secretary of the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, President Mnangagwa is ready to engage Chamisa on any issues. “If Mr Chamisa wants to engage President Mnangagwa on any issue, there is no problem”, Mangwana said, “but the issue which is not up for discussion, because it was resolved by the people of Zimbabwe, is who is the president of the republic, which brings up the issue of legitimacy.”
Mangwana went on: “President Mnangagwa can engage Chamisa anytime. He is the president of the republic and Chamisa is the leader of the opposition. If those positions are established, and as Chamisa is a Zimbabwean, President Mnangagwa will engage with any Zimbabwean.
” Before Christmas, the MDC Alliance leader expressed the wish to have a dialogue with President Mnangagwa over the economy. He said he had met many Zimbabweans to discuss the worsening economic situation and the consequent unbearable suffering.
“The back-to-school burden, high prices, non-performing economy, joblessness, and worthless salaries bring sorrow. On this, I call upon my brother ED to an urgent dialogue to resolve our politics and economics or it gets worse,” Chamisa said.
Chamisa’s view was echoed by Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC secretary general, who insists that the opposition is prepared to dialogue with the ruling ZANU PF.
“It is responsible on the part of the MDC to call for dialogue, we have always been calling for dialogue to resolve the national question,” Mwonzora claimed. “
It is clear that the current crisis is beyond the individual capacity of the ruling party and therefore everyone must put their heads on the deck and resolve the crisis.
“Our people are suffering, they are wallowing in poverty and misery, and we need to redress it. So the ball is in the court of President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF. We are prepared for dialogue.” Mwonzora added.
The MDC said if dialogue were to go through, ZANU PF should not set any conditions.
“ZANU PF is setting conditions for dialogue and it is unacceptable, whatever they are demanding from us they must say it on the dialogue table,” Mwonzora said, adding: “They cannot set conditions, it’s negotiating in bad faith to set conditions, and these talks must be unconditional.”
There have been calls from a cross section of society for President Mnangagwa and Chamisa to sit down and talk, and address the current economic suffering in the country. But Chamisa’s failure, even after the Constitutional Court defeat, to recognise President Mnangagwa as the legitimate leader of the country has been a stumbling block.