‘Unconstitutional GNU could spark anarchy’ – Zimbabwe legislator

HARARE – An outspoken Independent Member of Parliament for Norton constituency, Temba Mliswa on Tuesday said the formation of a coalition government or government of national unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe will be against the provisions of the Constitution and a negation of the will of the electorate.

The former president has held separate talks with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Writing on microblogging site Twitter, Mliswa argued that forming a coalition government will create anarchy and that such a move will be in direct contravention of clear Constitutional order. He said:

The recent talk of coalition dialogue is a shaky ground because it goes against constitutional dictates and the will of the electorate. That creates anarchy. We are seeking to undermine our own Constitution by going against a clear Constitutional Court order.

Mliswa’s remarks come when the generality of Zimbabwe are longing for a GNU to ease their suffering emanating from a haemorrhaging economy.

In 2009, ZANU PF, MDC-T and MDC-N formed a GNU even though there was no provision in the Constitution for that. An amendment was made on the Lancaster House Constitution that was in place at the time to accommodate a coalition government.

Mbeki has held talks with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leaders to try to help end the nation’s political crisis.

Mbeki, in Zimbabwe at Mnangagwa’s invitation, met Chamisa and Mnangagwa separately on Monday and will meet other political leaders on Tuesday, Tendai Biti, a deputy president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said by phone from Harare.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday met some opposition political leaders that are part of the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) in Harare.

Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T) and her vice president, Obert Gutu, and another official, Priscilla Misihairabwi, Lovemore Madhuku (National Constitutional Assembly) and Lucia Matibenga were some of the officials who attended the meeting with Mbeki.

Khupe and Madhuku said there should be a convergence of political minds to tackle head-on the challenges facing the country.

On Monday, Mbeki met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC president Nelson Chamisa separately in Harare.

The MDC has refused to recognise Mnangagwa as the nation’s legitimate ruler since he was elected president in July 2018, and has called for an outside mediator to help resolve its differences with the governing party.

Zimbabwe is grappling with a drought, power and fuel shortages, and annual inflation estimated at 440%, the second-highest in the world.

“I think it’s very important that the region comes behind the president and the country because the challenges of Zimbabwe are our challenges,” Mbeki was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper.

Mbeki mediated in Zimbabwe’s post-election crisis in 2008 between former President Robert Mugabe and then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, which resulted in the formation of a five-year power-sharing government.

While the opposition welcomes efforts to end the country’s political crisis, Mbeki doesn’t have a mandate to mediate in the talks, Biti said.

Calls to government spokesperson Nick Mangwana were not  answered when seeking comment.