The leader of the opposition MDC, Nelson Chamisa is waiting for the signal from former South African president Thabo Mbeki on when talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa will begin despite an intensification of campaign as parties eye the 2023 polls.
Mbeki was given the greenlight by South Africa to oversee dialogue between President Mnangagwa and Chamisa as Pretoria moves to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.
This saw him visiting Zimbabwe in November where he met Mnangagwa, Chamisa and other fringe political players that make up the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad). Mbeki was due to come back after Christmas.
MDC presidential spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda said the party was still waiting for communication from Mbeki’s office to know when the talks can resume and was looking to resolve the political question to avoid another disputed election in 2023.
He said Chamisa was in constant touch with Mbeki.
“We are waiting for communication from Mbeki who had informed us that he wants to contact Mnangagwa and we can know when the dialogue can start as he informed us that Mnangagwa did not want dialogue with Chamisa but we are ready for dialogue,” Sibanda said.
“There is need to move forward but we need genuine reforms going towards 2023 elections so that we know that we have finished the unresolved legitimacy dispute of 2018.”
South Africa’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete told Business Times that his government was ready to help to facilitate the dialogue.
“We shall continue to support former President Thabo Mbeki’s initiative with the logistics he needs if he comes back to the country to talk to political parties.
Last year his visit was a private initiative being handled by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation but we support it.
We are also waiting to know from our government in Pretoria when he is coming back to Zimbabwe,” Mbete said.
Debate on whether or not the military should be involved in the talks is gaining momentum following the historic role that has been played by the army on issues relating to governance.
On the eve of the 2002 Presidential election, the military —then Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis Zvinavashe — said the presidency was a “straight jacket” and they would not support anyone without liberation war credentials to occupy State House.
Talks between Mnangagwa and Chamisa are expected to restore the lost confidence in the economy which has seen the local currency depreciating against the dollar over the weeks amid fears of a spike in prices.
Zanu PF is adamant that talks should be held under Polad. Chamisa argues that Polad is composed of Mnangagwa’s cheerleaders.
His fears were confirmed after one of the Polad principals, Taurai Mteki, retraced his Zanu PF roots. Obert Mpofu, Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, said his party was not keen for any talks with Chamisa outside Polad.
“If Chamisa wants dialogue with President Mnangagwa, he must come to the Polad.
Former President Mbeki is aware that we have started dialogue under the Polad and this is the best platform we have and must be accepted by all Zimbabweans who want to see the country progress,” Mpofu said.
“The door is still open for Chamisa to join the Polad dialogue rather than to wait for outsiders; we are not going to wait for outsiders to determine what we can do to resolve our problems.
We shall go ahead with Polad going towards the elections.” Mpofu said Zanu PF was going ahead with preparations for the 2023 polls.
Last week, Mnangagwa told the party’s Politburo meeting that party members had to intensify campaigns and meetings with the electorate in constituencies.
“There is an imperative need to prepare for the 2023 harmonised general elections, which we must win by at least sixty five percent.
To do that the party needs to start strategic programmes and recruit more membership so that they can become the bedrock of a promising Zanu PF electorate,” he said. – Business Times