MDC dialogue demands at odds with Zanu PF

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The country’s biggest opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Thursday laid out its conditions for the ongoing post-election political dialogue, which are totally at variance with other parties, particularly the ruling ZANU-PF.

Until now, the MDC, claiming its leader Nelson Chamisa won last year
presidential vote, had declined President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s
invitation for a national dialogue among all parties that took part in the
election.

At least 17 of the 23 parties that contested the election agreed to the
dialogue, whose main goal is to re-unite the nation after the contentious
poll, and collectively map the way forward in re-building the country.

The dialogue has received the backing of major stakeholders including
the United Nations, foreign diplomats, churches and civic society.

The MDC, it appears, has had a change of heart on the dialogue, but on
conditions totally a variance in content and format with the government
and the other political parties.

While constitutional bodies, the National Peace and Reconciliation
Commission and the Gender Commission, are the lead players in the
government initiated process, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said his party
did not accept them as arbiters as they were “hand-picked” by
President Mnangagwa.

“If you are able to have dialogue to resolve key questions in your
country, why can’t you do that? National dialogue is a necessity, it is an
imperative stage,” said Chamisa.

“Our nation is divided. We need to heal our country and to heal it we
must begin with leadership through dialogue. The credible, legitimate
dialogue must be bankable and irreversible. It must be scar-folded,
guaranteed and underwritten by the international community and the
people of Zimbabwe.”

He reiterated his claims President Mnangagwa was irregularly elected,
saying this should be the main issue of the dialogue.

This is inspite of the validation of the presidential poll outcome by
the Constitutional Court and local, regional and international election
observer missions.

The government has since said the election result is a closed chapter,
and would not re-open the issue in any forum. But Chamisa, who was launching his party’s blueprint called the Road to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness and Democracy (Reload), said the legitimacy of President Mnangagwa was the key question that the dialogue should discuss.

“Our fundamental disagreement is that Mr Mnangagwa was not elected, he
is saying he was elected, so we must resolve that. He is saying drop
the legitimacy issue, I will not drop that because that’s my trump
card to my dialogue with you,” the MDC leader said.

He also demanded an outside mediator, in place of the two commissions,
to lead the dialogue, a position the government has ruled out outright.

“We are not accepting this thing of Mr Mnangagwa bringing his own
appointed Commissions to say they must be adjudicators. They cannot.

They do not have the stamina, national or international to be able to
withstand the kind of political conflict that is there,” he said.
Chamisa said a national transitional mechanism, the party’s euphemism
for a coalition government, should be the eventual outcome of the dialogue, a demand that the ruling party has also dismissed out of hand. – New Ziana

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