NEWLY-ELECTED MDC leader, Douglas Mwonzora, said yesterday that he was ready to work with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF to resolve Zimbabwe’s decades-long myriad challenges.
At the same time, Mwonzora also extended an olive branch to some of his MDC rivals – including Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri – who had challenged his runaway victory after the party’s chaotic extra-ordinary congress (EOC) last weekend.
The highly-regarded Harare lawyer also said he would reach out to other opposition groups in the country, in a bid to forge unity among them. All this comes as constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku, warned Khupe that she has “absolutely no chance” of reversing Mwonzora’s Sunday victory.
Addressing the media and MDC members in Harare yesterday, Mwonzora said it was his wish to help resolve Zimbabwe’s long-standing political and economic problems by working with Zanu-PF.
“For us, the best way is to work with Zanu-PF, but not work for Zanu-PF. It is our duty to keep Zanu-PF on its toes. It is clear that Zimbabwe needs a national vision and the party has to play its role,” he said.
Before Sunday’s EOC, both Mwonzora and Khupe had hinted that the MDC would be amenable to forming a government of national unity (GNU) with Zanu-PF.
“As the MDC, ever since we were formed (in 1999), we have always been for dialogue. We think that Zimbabwe’s problems can be resolved through dialogue.
“The problems of this country cannot be resolved through confrontation, acrimony, rancor, and violence. “So, yes, when the time comes, when the internal process is done and when our consultations are completed, you will see us calling for dialogue,” Mwonzora told the Daily News last month.
“There is enough historical evidence in this country to show that most of the problems and big issues are resolved through dialogue. “The liberation war ended with dialogue. The Gukurahundi in Matabeleland ended when Zapu and Zanu sealed that Unity Accord.
“In 2008, after Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai, we engaged in dialogue to resolve that national question. We will be always for dialogue, but internal process will have to be done first,” Mwonzora further said then.
In October, Khupe had also appeared to give a hint about the mooted talks when she said she was ready to engage in dialogue with Mnangagwa “to improve the livelihoods of 14,6 million Zimbabweans”.
“If those who think that dialoguing with the president is selling out, I say I am going to be dialoguing for a better life, then let me be a sell-out. But I will deliver a better life to everyone at the end of the day.
“Dialogue energises people to work together and that is the reason why after every election we must expeditiously get out of election mode and move forward towards the development agenda.
“As leader of the opposition, I am going to be dialoguing with the president for a better life for everyone,” Khupe said after she was sworn in in Parliament. In 2009, the late former president Robert Mugabe was forced into a GNU with the MDC’s late and much-loved founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai, after the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.
The short-lived GNU was credited with stabilising the economy which had imploded in the run-up to those elections. In those polls, Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down. However, the results were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities – amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later confirmed by former bigwigs of the ruling Zanu-PF.
In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu-PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed – forcing the former prime minister to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.
Mugabe went on to stand in an embarrassing and widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.
In addition to affirming that Khupe would be the MDC’s first vice president, with Mudzuri the second vice president, Mwonzora confirmed yesterday that Morgen Komichi would be the national chair – while Paurina Mpariwa would be party secretary-general.
He also pleaded for patience to ‘‘rebuild the entire opposition structure” in the country. Meanwhile, Madhuku warned Khupe yesterday that she had no chance of overturning Mwonzora’s EOC victory. “Because the voting was never stopped at law, the results announced by the independent electoral body are presumed to be valid. They enjoy a presumptive validity,” he said in a legal opinion to the MDC.
Madhuku also said the presumption of validity meant that unless the results of the EOC were set aside by a court, Mwonzora was “duly elected president”.
This comes after Mwonzora polled an emphatic 883 votes against Khupe’s 118 during Sunday’s vote, in which Mudzuri and Komichi – got a paltry 14 and nine votes respectively.