PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been given a November 1 ultimatum to stepdown from office by opposition pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile and Zimbabwe Students Union (ZINASU) at Saturday’s MDC 19th anniversary celebrations in Harare.
The two groups made the demand at the 19th anniversary celebrations of the opposition MDC party at Harare’s Gwanzura stadium on Saturday.
The party rejects Mnangagwa’s victory in the July 30 elections, insisting that the election outcome was manipulated in his favour by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
ZINASU secretary general Ashleigh Pfunye said the time had come for Zimbabweans to put fear aside and remove Mnangagwa if he does not step down voluntarily on or before 1 November.
MDC supporters drowned out his address as they demanded a march to State House.
“Izvozvi, Izvozvi, izvozvi (Now! Now! Now!,” chanted the thousands of supporters who filled up the stadium.
Tajamuka coordinator Elvis Mugari said November was the month the country should be returned to legitimacy.
Mnangagwa has no choice, but to agree to the formation of a transitional authority if Zimbabwe is to emerge out of the chaos engulfing the country, opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has said.
Chamisa reacted angrily to reports that Mnangagwa had effectively ruled out any possibility of talks, let alone the formation of a political structure to superintend the country inclusive of the opposition.
Early this week, Chamisa told journalists that Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party had reneged on a promise to the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to form an inclusive government following the fall of long-time ruler, former President Robert Mugabe in November last year.
But in his address to the Zanu PF central committee on Thursday, Mnangagwa said there were no plans for a Government of National Unity (GNU).
Chamisa, however, said Mnangagwa had no choice.
“Arrogance and pride come before a fall. Zimbabwe is in a polarised and divided position on account of arrogance as well as exclusive partisan politics,” said Chamisa, who lost to Mnangagwa by a wafer thin margin in the July 30 presidential elections, but insists he was defrauded of victory.
Chamisa said he was not demanding a GNU, but wanted a transitional authority. “Nobody wants a GNU. We have said we want a transitional authority because our nation is in transition. It needs a return to legitimacy and an emergency economic rescue package.
“As far as we are concerned, we do not have a government that has the backing of the people. This (Mnangagwa government) does not have the people’s mandate. It is the product of a contested and illegitimate declaration by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec),” the opposition leader told NewsDay Weekender yesterday.
“I don’t know where Mnangagwa is getting the idea that we want a GNU. We never said we wanted a GNU. It has never been in our thoughts. We have said Zimbabwe needs a transitional authority which is bigger than a GNU.”
Chamisa said while the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) had thrown out his petition and confirmed Mnangagwa as duly elected President, his legitimacy remained in question.
“The ConCourt gave its position, but in politics the court of public opinion reigns supreme. The people are the ultimate arbiters in political issues. They have the ultimate authority.
“The beauty about this is that Mnangagwa has not contested our argument that he did not win the election. He is just arguing that Zec declared him winner, but we have said beyond that declaration, there were issues of legitimacy that he does not have,” the opposition leader said.
Chamisa argued a transitional authority would unite the country and kick-start the economy on the back of international goodwill.
“Mnangagwa must eat humble pie and accept that this country is bigger than him. He must respect the people of Zimbabwe and understand that this country will need all forces and faces to unite in order for it to move forward.
“The economy is always the mirror through which we see the real national situation and you have seen how it is behaving. There is deep seated dislocation, a deficit of leadership, governance, trust and confidence,” he said.
The country has been on an economic tailspin since Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s announcement of the Transitional Economic Stabilisation Programme, with basic goods disappearing from the shelves while prices continue to sky rocket.