HARARE – As Zimbabwe’s economy continues to deteriorate, the opposition MDC has implored President Emmerson Mnangagwa to admit failure and open way for negotiations towards the setting up of a national transitional authority to stabilise the country.
Following a month-old strike by junior doctors that has since been joined by other civil servants, including nurses and teachers who are demanding to be paid salaries in United States dollars, the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC said the country was being held back by the “habitual dereliction of duty by those who stole an election”.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said since Mnangagwa came to power after the disputed elections on July 30 last year, the country “is back to square one”.
“The MDC suggests that Mnangagwa admits failure and kick-start a process of national dialogue towards a lasting solution to the problems arresting our country,” Mafume said.
Mnangagwa is, however, on record saying he and his Zanu PF party have no appetite to enter into a coalition government with “losers”.
The president has, however, at one point — speaking through his spokesperson George Charamba in an exclusive interview with the Daily News — said he was open to talks with Chamisa, on the strict understanding that the MDC leader recognised him as president.
Chamisa lost the presidential election to Mnangagwa after winning 44,3 percent of the vote against the former vice president’s 50,6 percent.
He has nevertheless refused to accept Mnangagwa as the legitimate leader of the country despite a Constitutional Court ruling against the 40-year-old’s application.
In the wake of the prevailing labour unrest Mafume, flanked by former Health minister Henry Madzorera, suggested Mnangagwa should use part of the US$ the country generates to pay doctors and other civil servants.
The 19-year-old party also proposed the Mnangagwa administration should “demonetise bond notes, secure existing RTGS balances in individuals’ bank accounts and join the Rand Monetary Union”.
“A lasting solution can also be found through abolishing the quasi-fiscal activities by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and growing the economy through attracting foreign direct investment and creating a stable and predictable policy environment,” he said.
Last year, the MDC petitioned Parliament, the presidency, Sadc chairperson Hage Geingob of Namibia and African Union chairperson Paul Kagame of Rwanda saying a transitional authority was the only viable route back to political legitimacy in the country.
Charamba told the Daily News at the time that Mnangagwa was not against holding talks with Chamisa, and had actually engaged the opposition leader in the run-up to the hotly-disputed July 30 polls — with the MDC boss allegedly moving to scupper the positive dialogue subsequently.
“You may also want to know, and I am making this disclosure for the first time, that way before we went for elections — at the height of the election campaigns, and even after the elections — there were lots of back channel communications between Zanu PF and MDC.
“Some of the players are pretending to be very radical today but we know better and the MDC Alliance knows what’s on offer.
“There was an extraordinary amount of goodwill which they fluffed. One hopes that goodwill still subsists … but anyway, now that they have given that indication, let’s wait for the commission to make its recommendations and then move forward and see how this action pans out.
“But a key pre-condition is that there must be a recognition of ED as the winner of the 2018 elections … there are no two ways about that,” Mnangagwa’s trusted spokesperson said emphatically.