HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Mr Nelson Chamisa on Tuesday said he was ready for talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and urged South Africa to act as mediator.
This is after South Africa said problems in Zimbabwe were mainly political and called for an end to the crisis.
South Africa’s International Relations minister Naledi Pandor announced a major shift in her country’s approach to Zimbabwe’s crisis saying “practical solutions” were needed to end the crisis.
“The political formations in Zimbabwe remain at loggerheads and have apparent deep antipathy towards each other, which makes joint decision-making and planning extremely difficult,” Dr Pandor said.
“It seems clear that even as we support the call for an end to economic sanctions, the political dynamics that we observe are inextricably linked to the economic solutions and thus the politics and the economic as well as the social need to be confronted simultaneously.”
Zimbabwe’s opposition last year rejected President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election victory claiming the polls were rigged.
Southern African countries, including South Africa, endorsed President Mnangagwa and at the last regional meeting held in Tanzania agreed that Western sanctions were behind the crisis that has crippled Harare’s economy.
Reacting to Dr Pandor’s statement, Mr Chamisa said the opposition will welcome South Africa to mediate in the talks between him and President Mnangagwa following Pretoria’s latest pronouncements.
“For months now, we have been asking our African brothers and sisters to look into the man-made governance crisis in Zimbabwe and help us restore the dignity of citizens. We are heartened by Minister Pandor’s correct diagnosis of the major problem in Zimbabwe as toxic politics,” he said.
“We in the MDC stand ready to welcome South Africa and Sadc’s mediation in Zimbabwe to end the suffering that has gone on for far too long, and give our people hope.”
Legislators from Mr Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party last week boycotted a parliamentary session after President Mnangagwa attended the presentation of the 2020 budget.
Last month the opposition legislators walked out after the president arrived in the House of Assembly to present his state of the nation address, saying they did not recognise his presidency.
CALL FOR TALKS
Churches recently called for talks between the ruling party and the opposition, saying the political impasse is perpetuating the economic crisis in the country.
President Mnangagwa has in the past refused to take part in direct talks with his rival saying Mr. Chamisa must first recognise his election victory.
The ruling party leader has instead opened dialogue with leaders of fringe political parties that took part in the contested presidential elections.
Zimbabwe is struggling to emerge from an economic crisis that has spanned nearly two decades and which was blamed on the policies of the late founding leader, Robert Mugabe.
Mr Mugabe, who was replaced by President Mnangagwa following a 2017 military coup, died in September this year.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chamisa pleaded with South Africa to help set up a donor fund to pay doctors at public hospitals who have been on strike for almost three months.
The doctors went on strike in September demanding better pay and the government responded by firing more than 300 of them, leaving hospitals unmanned.
“There is a silent genocide in hospitals, which cannot wait for politicians to find each other,” Mr. Chamisa added.
Source: The East African