OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa is currently in political wilderness and his views on the country’s state of affairs cannot supersede those of Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) members, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Speaking at the Unity Day commemorations held at his Sherwood Farm in Kwekwe yesterday, Mnangagwa also shut the door on former South African leader Thabo Mbeki, who has been trying to mediate on the Zimbabwean political gridlock by bringing him into bilateral talks with Chamisa.
“We cannot allow isolated voices, which have no platforms, speaking more than us (Polad) who are a collective. Collective voices should be heard more than isolated voices in the jungle,” he said.
“I am happy that we all accept that peace is critical … harmony is equally important. If we all preach peace, unity and harmony in the country, then we expose those who have brought suffering (in the country). If it is my party which has brought suffering or violence, it must be condemned and also any other party, whether in Polad or in the wilderness.”
Mnangagwa urged Polad members to be “more vocal” in order to draw international attention on the existence of the platform to show that talks between the government and opposition parties were ongoing.
“I see that with the spirit of Polad, we can sustain this conversation, this dialogue. But we need to be more vocal, to be heard, to pronounce ourselves on all issues, to show that we are alive, vibrant. We need to show that we are working on all issues that affect this country,” he said.
Turning on Mbeki’s overtures, the Zanu PF leader said he would not be persuaded to meet face-to-face with the youthful opposition leader on an exclusive platform.
“Recently, former President Mbeki came to meet me and he also met some of the political party leaders here. I am happy that he expressed his desire to see Zimbabweans working together. I assured him that as Zanu PF and as President of the Republic, we have created a platform which we call Polad, where any single political party can express itself on issues affecting Zimbabwe and the majority of political parties are part of that platform,” he said.
“I said I do not see it as possible to have two platforms which discuss one issue. The Zimbabwe political issue is one and if we need to discuss it, we must come to one platform where we discuss it and that platform which we have agreed (to set up) is Polad. I am not moving from that.”
Opposition party leaders who attended the gathering and toured Mnangagwa’s farm for more than one hour include Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T) Lovemore Madhuku (NCA), Lucia Matibenga (People’s Rainbow Coalition) and Trust Chikohora (Code).
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission chairperson Justice Selo Nare, who is also the convener of Polad, chaired the proceedings.