OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday said he would escalate his fight against President Emmerson Mnangagwa by filing a petition with the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU), to intervene and help set up a government of national unity, which he said would rescue the country from economic and political crises.
Addressing thousands of people who marched in Harare’s central business district (CBD) yesterday, protesting against Mnangagwa’s leadership, who his party regards as “illegitimate”, Chamisa said he would soon be meeting the Sadc chair, Namibian President Hage Geingob, over the Zimbabwe situation.
Chamisa and the top leadership of his MDC party led thousands of people in a peaceful demonstration in Harare’s CBD. A sea of party supporters demanded that Mnangagwa dialogues with their leader to solve the deepening crisis.
“We have taken this petition to Sadc because that is our regional body. I am going to meet the President of Namibia very soon to officially articulate and explain the nuts and bolts, the ins and outs of this important document,” Chamisa said, amid cheers from supporters.
“We have also taken this document to the AU chairman [Rwandan President Paul] Kagame.”
Chamisa said they would not rest their case until Mnangagwa agrees to dialogue.
“We, therefore, note the following — That those occupying the high offices are not there through the democratic process of a free, fair and credible election, having imposed themselves into leadership through the 30th of July disputed election, whose results are untraceable, unverifiable and unreliable,” read the petition that was also copied to Parliament.
He said they regard Parliament as legitimate, despite his party challenging 28 constituencies at the courts, adding that the situation was different with the President whose electoral victory he said was hugely disputed.
“That key and credible observer missions condemned the election, highlighting that the process fell short of minimum standards. In particular, the Independent EU Observer Mission, [International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute] IRI &NDI report and the Common Wealth observer mission report.
“That a crisis of legitimacy emanating from events of November 2017 was, therefore, not cured and now forms the core of the Zimbabwean crisis.
“That the economy has become the immediate casualty of the crisis of legitimacy and no tangible solution has been proffered in this respect.”
Among the challenges Zimbabwe is facing, the petition said price distortions caused by bond notes, shortages of basic commodities, including fuel and cooking oil, negative economic growth in more than two successive quarters since 2012, removal of the 2% tax on electronic money transfers, run-away inflation, ever-ballooning budget deficit, unsustainable debt levels, corruption, nepotism and State capture.
He said people’s general living standards have deteriorated under Mnangagwa as compared to the time of former leader Robert Mugabe who was removed through military intervention last year.
“Under Zanu PF, the social contract has irretrievably broken down. The people of Zimbabwe view the Zanu PF government as an enemy beyond reconciliation,” the petition read.
Chamisa demanded that civil servants be paid in United States dollars.
Among other demands, Chamisa said they want an immediate return to legitimacy and resolution of the crisis of legitimacy through arbitration and immediate national dialogue among all key stakeholders. Also pertinent for discussion were electoral and legal reforms, harmonisation of Zimbabwe’s laws to the new Constitution, media reforms, devolution and the creation of institutional democracy while also addressing State capture.
Chamisa said they want demonetisation of the bond note, securing the existing Real Time Gross Settlement balances in people’s banks, strengthening the multiple-currency regime in the short-term, joining the Rand Monetary Union and abolishing the quasi-fiscal activities of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
On the national transitional authority, Chamisa said: “Once there is agreement on the above, parties should define a mechanism to implement the agreed programme with defined timelines, expected outcomes and goals.
“We demand and propose the setting up of a national transitional authority as the country undertakes the agreed reforms.”
The MDC leader said his party does not survive on bloodshed and violence was not a part of their mandate.
He urged security services to stay away from politics. He said police were professional, but remain poisoned by politicians. Chamisa promised to keep both police and army in their jobs once in power.
“When I get in, my job is not to remove the soldiers and the police that are already there. I will work with them.”
Vendors and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions gave solidarity messages and said they did not recognise Mnangagwa as a legitimate leader.
MDC youth leader Happyson Chidziva said they would continue with demonstrations and streets would be their second home. He applauded marchers for maintaining peace.