POLITICAL parties that are trying to resurrect their sinking fortunes through the church disguised negotiation forums should wait for the 2023 elections as President Mnangagwa is presently focused on developmental issues, his spokesperson Mr George Charamba has said.
This comes as some church organisations, particularly the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), have been trying to bring political party leaders to the negotiating table with a series of meetings that are meant to culminate in the formation of a transitional government.
The church-initiated dialogue also comes at a time when the country’s opposition parties are in a state of disarray due to infighting, something that Mr Charamba said exposes the initiative as a scheme to give a kiss of life to the MDC Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa.
Mr Charamba reiterated that the Government will not be part of any negotiating forum outside the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), a multi-party liaison platform that includes all political parties.
“I am not aware of a request or invitation extended to the President for a church-brokered interaction of political parties outside of the already established Polad platform. I can’t see the President running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. He is the creator of Polad, it is a consensus building platform and we can’t continue to go for forum shopping as if the problems of this country will be solved by multiplying forums that don’t build anything,” said Mr Charamba.
He said what was disconcerting from the so-called church-led negotiations forum was that it was in pursuance of an agenda to have President Mnangagwa meet with Mr Chamisa.
“The message to Chamisa is very clear, if you feel like joining in the national discourse, come to Polad unconditionally. There are no big egos, there are no small egos. It is elastic and can accommodate all sentiments, big or small.
“We can’t keep telling men of the cloth, over and over again that there is a long-standing invitation for all political parties to join dialogue, the parameters of which have been established. What we seem to be getting from the persistent calls from the church as represented by Mtata and company is not so much to get national dialogue but one of trying to broker bilateral interaction between two political players, but more critically, when you look at the other side of the bilateral meeting and the problems they have, you are tempted to conclude that this is in fact a rescue package to a stressed political party that is wrapped under the cloth of lofty good intentions for a national dialogue.
“We reject that and they know it, that’s our position and there is nothing to gain in asking for what has been rejected. If Chamisa wants, let him join Polad, if not let him wait for 2023, thus, the whole idea of thinking that he can, whether through church leaders or through street action, he can smuggle himself into government, smuggle himself into some form of arrangement is futile,” said Mr Charamba.
Zimbabwe heads to the next election in three years’ time but outside that, the opposition, some churches and vigilante groups have been working around the clock to form a national transitional authority, and subvert the will of the people as demonstrated in the 2018 polls that were controversially won by President Mnangagwa.
Mr Charamba said Mr Chamisa and his handlers must stop dreaming of smuggling themselves into government through either covert or overt operations as that would be met with equal force.
“We notice that he (Chamisa) is now talking about a pre-election and post-election arrangement, whatever that means, itself a paradox, which is not an act of genius but an act of confusion. If he thinks he is going to get something by going through a circuitous and convoluted way, he is wasting his time. He has to join Polad or wait for 2023. Anything else is off the table,” said Mr Charamba.
Recently, President Mnangagwa warned some rogue non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions, churches and some foreign embassies against destabilising prevailing peace, unity and harmony through dabbling in politics, saying the ruling party will not allow such conduct.