PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and his opposition counterpart MDC leader Nelson Chamisa have gone on parallel diplomatic offensive campaigns in pursuit of their diametrically opposed positions regarding the resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis.
Chamisa is in South Africa, where he is also seeking to capitalise on the neighbouring country’s taking over of the African Union chairmanship to push for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s intervention and mediation to end the Zimbabwean conundrum.
Mnangagwa will, meanwhile, be sending his emissaries under the Political Actors
Dialogue (Polad) platform to several countries in and out of Africa with a “clear briefing” from Foreign Affairs ministry on what to sell.
“The role (of government) is facilitating international engagements that Polad members will have across our borders. When they go out, they need (Ministry of) Foreign Affairs briefings so that they know the playground wherever they are going,” Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Musabayana said yesterday.
Polad has been dismissed by Chamisa’s MDC as “Mnangagwa’s runners” and their venture into the global arena is being viewed as bidding for the Zanu PF leader.
The dialogue platform, comprising the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe, the National Constitutional Assembly led by Lovemore Madhuku and other obscure political parties, has since met officials from the United States embassy in Harare as part of their diplomatic offensive.
On his part, Chamisa yesterday said there was fresh evidence on how the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) allegedly flouted the law and procedures in their conduct during and after the July 31, 2018 elections, adding that Sadc together with the African Union must urgently intervene to resolve the political contestations arising from that disputed poll.
“2023 is out of the question. We will not be able to have 2023 until we resolve modern day questions. Today’s questions are so pertinent to be resolved. So what we need to do is to resolve the unresolved 2018 elections so that we pave way for any future elections. Otherwise we will have the recycling of same old problems,” Chamisa told SABC Digital News.
“We now have new evidence, fresh evidence after the Constitutional Court determination of the dispute between ourselves and Mr Mnangagwa. Particularly the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) report that was put in Parliament, where the commission is indicating that they flouted the law and procedures of holding elections in announcing the results.
“That evidence has to be at the doorstep of Sadc, the AU and, of course, South African President Ramaphosa, to show and validate that these elections in Zimbabwe were rigged and stolen and what we need to do going forward, in the context of Sadc and Zimbabwe, is to make sure that we have comprehensive reforms and we have free and fair elections so that we do not have a repeat of 2018 in 2023.
“Otherwise we will continue to have Zimbabwe on the table of Sadc, on the table of South Africa if not at the doorstep as a nuisance, which is not what we desire.”
Chamisa said it was sad that he last met Mnangagwa before the 2018 elections.
“We have not met since the days of Parliament. It is now two years, which is quite sad because under normal circumstances, people who compete in an election are supposed to have a conversation, post an election to find a way forward for the country. This is one of my saddest moments, I am very disappointed,” he lamented.
“That is why we thought that (former South African) President (Thabo) Mbeki, when he came (last month), he would facilitate for a conversation. As you know in Africa, whenever there is a negotiation, there has to be a negotiator because that is our nature as a people for us to be able to deal with the disharmony: The misunderstanding between ourselves and Mr Mnangagwa, it will be useful to have a credible negotiator and we think the avenue and platform created by President Mbeki will go a long way in creating this kind of conversation.”
Chamisa said Mbeki should be returning to Zimbabwe anytime to try and unlock the deadlock on dialogue between the two leaders.
“The situation is even more urgent now than ever before because the situation now in the country is really taking a nose-dive and things are really going down in many ways. As I speak, people’s salaries are being eroded, people do not have electricity, the situation has gone out of hand. Unemployment hitting almost 98%,” he said.
Chamisa said the MDC was being treated like a banned organisation, with their programmes being prohibited and the police ransacking and searching the party offices for weapons of banditry and insurgence.
“So you can’t blame the victim for your own misfortunes. We are victims of dictatorship, victims of a failed State and arrested development in the country,” he said.
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, the MDC leader said: “A crisis in Zimbabwe will set ablaze the entire Sadc. There can’t be a successful South Africa with a failing Zimbabwe. There can’t be a successful South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana with a sick Zimbabwe.
“Fixing Zimbabwe is fixing the continent. There should be a sense of urgency because the crisis has gone out of hand.
“We are not asking Sadc, the AU and South Africa to support the MDC, but to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in their hour of need. Zimbabwe is a ticking time bomb and there is need to deal with the situation before it deals with us. There should be solidarity with the people, not Zanu PF or MDC. We must give peace a chance.”