MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday proposed a transitional government for the country, which he said would resolve the issue of legitimacy and have sufficient buy-in from Zimbabweans to deal with the worsening economic problems. He accused the ruling Zanu PF party of reneging on an earlier agreement on a power-sharing plan.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Chamisa claimed before the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC founding president, in February and following the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe from power, a deal had been agreed with Zanu PF to put off elections in favour of a transitional administration until the economy had normalised.
He said war veterans leaders Christopher Mutsvangwa and Victor Matemadanda were aware of the arrangement, but Zanu PF later chose to push for elections, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly won. Chamisa disputed the poll result.
The MDC Alliance leader has refused to acknowledge a Constitutional Court ruling that confirmed Mnangagwa’s victory and frequently calls him an illegitimate leader.
In September last year, before Mugabe was forced out in a coup two months later, Reuters, citing politicians, diplomats and documents from inside the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), noted that then Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was looking to co-operate with Tsvangirai to lead a transitional government for five years and that the arrangement had “tacit backing of some of Zimbabwe’s military and Britain”.
Such a transitional authority would “avoid the chaos that has followed some previous elections”, the report noted.
“This unity government would pursue a new relationship with thousands of white farmers who were chased off in violent seizures of land approved by Mugabe in the early 2000s. The farmers would be compensated and reintegrated, according to senior politicians, farmers and diplomats. The aim would be to revive the agricultural sector, a linchpin of the nation’s economy that collapsed catastrophically after the land seizures.
“Mnangagwa realises he needs the white farmers on the land when he gets into power … he will use the white farmers to resuscitate the agricultural industry, which he reckons is the backbone of the economy,” Reuters wrote, citing a January 6, 2016 report.
Chamisa said the election had brought chaos and that the transitional authority was now inevitable.
“We need a national transitional authority and that is the one that is going to lay the framework for these steps so that we resolve this crisis. We are seeing a repetition of the 2013 problem,” Chamisa said.
“The problem president Tsvangirai left, the problem Mugabe didn’t solve, the problems Mnangagwa would want to perpetuate. We want to put a stop and we cannot be talking about elections all the time, we want to talk about development.”
The MDC leader said talks between himself and Mnangagwa, which were initiated by church organisations, had broken down because “Mnangagwa seems not to have an appetite for it, while he is fixated on engaging the international community and forgetting that the local community is critical as well”.
Chamisa said his party had put forward five points that must be addressed and they were: returning to legitimacy; undertaking comprehensive reforms; nation-building and peace-building; having a common approach to international isolation and addressing the economic situation.
He said in the transitional authority, they would not be used to sanitise Zanu PF as happened in 2008 when they went into a GNU.
“The transitional authority is going to be a creature of the discussions, we do not want to define the confines and parameters of it now because we want a national discourse,” he said, adding “we want something that is not going to compromise the MDC because we don’t want a repeat of 2008, where we were used to chlorinate the infected.
“We don’t want a repeat of 2008 and once beaten twice shy, the agenda is not about power, positions, but answers to the people of Zimbabwe. We need permanent answers to resolve the national question.”
Chamisa said the biggest challenge with the Zanu PF-led government was the high level of fiscal indiscipline at the apex of government, which has resulted in domestic debt ballooning when Mnangagwa took office.
He claimed his party had a clear path and the formula that Zimbabwe must take to extricate itself from its quagmire.
Chamisa said it was folly and delusional to think that the bond notes were at par with the US dollar and demanded an audit by Parliament into the ballooning domestic debt to figure out how the money was spent.
But Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana described Chamisa’s utterances as madness.
“He is mad. There was no discussion of this nature. We govern this country through the Constitution and as a lawyer, I expect him to read it,” Mangwana said.
“We only have a transitional government if there is no government and, in this instance, we have elections that were held in terms of the Constitution and the winner was declared by the Constitutional Court, and there is no room for the so-called transitional government. Transiting to where? We cannot have a transitional government in an independent sovereign authority. We held democratic elections and a winner was declared by the ConCourt.”