Chamisa says now ready for conditional dialogue
Harare, (New Ziana) – Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Nelson Chamisa, feeling increasingly isolated, said on Tuesday he was now ready for dialogue with the ruling Zanu PF party, but still insisted this should be exclusive to the two parties.
After winning the 2018 general election, President Emmerson Mnangagwa set up a dialogue platform to allow all parties that took part in the poll to contribute ideas to nation-building, and also to heal election-related animosities.
Nineteen of the 23 political parties that contested the election, including the victor Zanu-PF, joined the Political Actors’ Dialogue (Polad), and have made quite meaningful contributions to various issues facing the country.
But the MDC, which disputed the outcome of the election, stayed out, insisting on special treatment, including exclusive foreign-mediated dialogue with Zanu-PF.
The ruling party ruled this out, throwing Chamisa into the wilderness with no national political platform other than just the MDC.
This had not only disadvantaged him, but also politically isolated him in the eyes of Zimbabweans now eager to build national consensus as the Second Republic takes shape.
But Chamisa told supporters at a rally on Tuesday the MDC was now ready for dialogue, but still exclusively with Zanu-PF and outside Polad, terms the ruling party still rejects.
He described Polad as a ‘poisoned zone’, and said the MDC would rather remain in the ‘wilderness’ than join the dialogue platform.
“We are committed to genuine dialogue but not under Polad,” he said.
“We want genuine dialogue. The dialogue must be scaffolded and underwritten by a credible mediator. This dialogue must be a dialogue not about power or positions but a dialogue about vision, principle and the future of our country so that we have a shared future and have a shared pathway.”
And in spite of President Mnangagwa’s election validation by the Constitutional Court, local, regional and international poll observers, Chamisa said his presidency must be among the agenda items for the dialogue.
But he dropped this as a condition for the dialogue, but now just “a necessary agenda item that must be debated.”
MDC calls for dialogue are widely seen as an attempt by the party to push through its incorporation into government as happened in 2008 after disputed elections.
Back then, South Africa mediated the talks between Zaqnu-PF and the MDC on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which led to the formation of a unity government.
At Tuesday’s rally, Chamisa hinted at this.
“If we (MDC and Zanu PF) combine our forces, this country can go forward, nothing can stop us,” he said, adding he had asked SADC, the African Union (AU)and the international community to “help us help ourselves.”
But not only Zanu-PF, but SADC, the AU and the world at large have declared the 2018 election a closed chapter.