NELSON Chamisa’s alleged “big-headedness” and refusal to join the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) has hampered much-needed national dialogue to help resolve Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges, presidential spokesperson George Charamba has said.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Sunday this week, Charamba also insisted that President Emmerson Mnangagwa would not hold private talks with Chamisa outside Polad – as “this would amount to privileging him” above other opposition players.
This comes as the country’s political and economic crises are deepening, amid growing local and international calls for inclusive national dialogue to lift Zimbabwe out of its quagmire.
“The essence of dialogue is not about re-visiting the 2018 election results, it is to move forward in a co-operative environment – seeking to solve the country’s economic challenges.
“So, really, you cannot revoke the 2018 results because if we were to use that logic, then the president has no reason to invite him.
“If the Constitution says with 50 percent plus one vote you govern and the opposition opposes, this means that the measure of the interaction with them (the opposition) is extra-constitutional and its basis cannot be founded on the results of the elections,” Charamba told the Daily News on Sunday.
“It just doesn’t make sense. What we are refusing is this big-headedness on the part of Chamisa, to say I’m the second biggest brother after the president, and to also bring to the table his squabbles with his peers in the MDC,” he added.
This comes after Zanu-PF stalwart and politburo member, Tshinga Dube, recently re-ignited the inclusive dialogue issue, telling the Daily News on Sunday last month that a government of national unity (GNU) was the panacea to the country’s political and economic crises.
In the same vein, South Africa’s International Relations minister, Naledi Pandor, revealed last week that her country was making all efforts to persuade the country’s political protagonists to find each other – adding that Zimbabwe’s solution to its crises required its leaders to engage each other.
But Charamba insisted that in the case of Chamisa, his biggest stumbling block that was hindering him from participating in Polad was that he did not want to share the stage with the MDC’s interim leader, Thokozani Khupe.
Khupe is part of Polad, a platform for political parties which fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections to contribute to social, economic and political progress in the country. It was launched in May last year.
Chamisa has refused outright to be part of the platform, arguing that it is there to further Mnangagwa’s political interests – whose leadership of the country he also disputes.
“The biggest stumbling block in Chamisa’s participation in Polad is not Polad. It is the fact of sharing the seat with Thokozani Khupe. That’s what he can’t countenance.
“He doesn’t want Khupe to appear (on the same stage) at all. He has no difficulty working with the likes of Welshman Ncube who got far less votes compared to him or Tendai Biti.
“But he has a problem with sitting in the context of Polad with Khupe, whom he acknowledges got the most votes after him. What is the logic here?” Charamba further told the Daily News on Sunday.
He added that Chamisa was hoping that his interaction with Mnangagwa would be an “extra string in his bow, so that he shoots better at competition within his own party”.
“That can’t be our basis for dialogue. We have no reason absolutely to oblige him on such a motive. That’s not our purpose.
“We want to unite Zimbabweans across the political divide and tackle welfare issues, not so that we help a besieged politician to settle squabbles in his political party.
“Zanu-PF doesn’t bring its personal issues to Polad,” Charamba said.
He also dismissed claims that Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF were behind the ugly factionalism bedevilling the MDC – which has spilled into the courts.
“First of all, people must not pretend like they don’t know the rules of litigation. Zanu-PF is not a litigant (in the MDC’s wars).
“So, how then does it become party to a legal dispute that it has no stake in? The whole idea is that pitting Chamisa against Khupe doesn’t resonate with the donor community.
“You need to have ED as an opponent for you to become a sympathy figure and for you to be worth investing in because the world out there will not be appeased by anything short of ousting Zanu-PF,” Charamba further told the Daily News on Sunday.
“So, if you oust Khupe it has no political value to the donors. You have to be seen fighting Zanu-PF which is the arch-enemy of the Western countries.
“So, what better way to gain that sympathy than to drag in a non-party to a legal process who happens to be the enemy of your donors.
“They took each other to court on their own,” Charamba added.
He also said MDC leaders had brought misfortunes upon themselves when they decided to take their battles to the courts, instead of resolving their differences internally.
Therefore, Charamba added, they could not blame Zanu-PF which had managed to deal with its own internal challenges on its own.
“They (Chamisa and his allies) appealed and brought misfortunes to themselves. When they lose they blame others for their loss.
“The fact that judges dealing with their cases are arriving at different positions is a vindication of the autonomy of the judiciary system, because a judge is allowed to treat a case individually and interpret the law.
“So, really, the long and short of it is that there is never going to be a separate platform to accommodate Chamisa,” Charamba said.
“If he feels nationalistic enough to want to participate in national processes, the Polad door stands ajar for him to walk in.
“Thankfully, he is so slim and the door is so wide that he doesn’t have to squeeze in. He can walk in freely.
“Also, as he walks in by the door step, could he leave his party’s problems so that he comes on to the table with a mind which predisposes him to focus on solving national issues,” Charamba further told the Daily News on Sunday.