MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has escalated his calls for dialogue with Zanu-PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying the people of Zimbabwe want dialogue and the whole Sadc region is unstable because of unresolved issues in Zimbabwe.
Last year, Chamisa ruled out any dialogue saying he only wanted “his” keys to the State House, and even indicated he would not negotiate with people who stole “his goats.”
Speaking to NewsDay on Thursday night during his tour of MDC Midlands province structures at Mtapa Hall in Gweru, Chamisa pleaded with President Mnangagwa to negotiate with him for the good of the nation.
“Zimbabweans have their rights. They are the authors of the history of this country. They are the last line of authority in this country. It is not just the question of Mr Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa has no power to define the course of this country alone,” Chamisa said.
“He is just an individual, one citizen. So the future must be defined by all of us. We must, therefore, come together and break barriers so that we have an initiative, whereby we have a national consensus.
“As you know, it takes two to tango. We must smoke a peace pipe for this country to have peace. Zimbabweans are suffering. The whole country is in trouble. We have to look into the problems affecting us. Look at the region, it’s not stable because of us.”
He said 2020 was the year his party would take over power.
“Our message is that in 2020, it is a year to restore legitimacy. In short, we have been telling people what needs to be done to solve this country’s economic and political crises. We need a people’s government. We need to restore the people’s dignity. We need to give people a chance to return to peace and prosperity,” the opposition leader said.
“We need to restore legitimacy (in order) to return to stability and prosperity. We need people to be given security and freedoms and rights,” he said.
“We must agree as Zimbabweans, we must agree on what our problem is. Our problem is of democracy and legitimacy. Once we have done that, we cure the problem. We have a comprehensive programme of reforms.
“We have a nation building agenda, we have a nation healing programme, so that we feed into the international re-engagement programme and also address the humanitarian problems.
“Once we do that, then we are able to deal with the international community.”
Added Chamisa: “People of Zimbabwe must come together, churches, trade unions, labour bodies, the youths, women’s groups, civic groups, traditional leaders, civic leaders, political parties, we all come together and chart the way forward for this country. The people have a right to define their future and they will do so. Let’s fix our politics and prosperity will follow.”
President Mnangagwa has refused to talk with Chamisa outside the Political Actors Dialogue, a grouping of fringe political parties who lost elections in the 2018 polls, among them Thokozani Khupe of MDC-T and Lovemore Madhuku of NCA.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said yesterday Chamisa was dreaming to think there will be any other dialogue process outside the POLAD.
“The President has made it clear that the only available platform for national political dialogue is the Political Actors Dialogue. Anyone or everyone interested in engaging Zanu-PF or any other party will do so within the context of POLAD and no other platform.”
Charamba said POLAD was not structured around size, imagined or real, but around the need to depoliticise the society, debate developmental issues for the country to move forward in harmony.
“It is not about the electoral strength of respective parties, after all, let it not be forgotten that the offer for dialogue is actually voluntary. It is not a requirement of the Constitution, it is not a logical outcome of a winner takes all kind of electoral system,” he said.
“It is really a wish on the part of the President to carry on board everyone who participated in the 2018 elections in the spirit of harmony and in the spirit of ensuring that all energies of the country are harnessed towards a common purpose.”
President Mnangagwa initiated the POLAD in May last year, and it comprises about 17 political actors, most of whom participated in the 2018 elections.