OPPOSITION leader Douglas Mwonzora has now formally approached President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other key stakeholders on the much-talked about national dialogue.
At the same time, sources told the Daily News yesterday that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu PF wanted Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to be their point man for the mooted talks.
This comes as many Zimbabweans are pushing for Mnangagwa, Mwonzora and Nelson Chamisa to bury their political hatchets and hold talks to help extricate the country from its decades-long political and economic challenges.
Mwonzora’s spokesperson, Lloyd Damba, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that the MDC had now indeed approached the government for the much-needed dialogue.
“Besides the government, we are engaging other players behind the scenes.
“We are engaging various stakeholders and when the time comes for you to know the intricate details you will be the first to know,” he said.
On his part MDC chairperson, Morgen Komichi, said the party would soon be meeting all relevant stakeholders as part of its efforts to make the process inclusive.
“The situation is now better in terms of Covid-19 and soon we are going to meet all stakeholders — including churches, civil society groups and students, among others. We are doing everything possible to make sure that we have this dialogue as soon as possible.
“The most important thing is that people must be educated on the advantages of having dialogue because the country cannot continue being divided like this,” Komichi told the Daily News.
“We are happy that everyone, including political parties, is seeing the light in terms of recognising the advantages of having dialogue.
“Dialogue is needed now and we must put more effort into this. Before the talks, there is a need to address three things — which entail fears, interests and needs.” he added.
Other MDC insiders also told the Daily News yesterday that Mwonzora’s approaches to Mnangagwa’s office had yielded positive feedback, with the opposition leader apparently being assured that “the president’s door is wide open for negotiations”.
“The party’s emissaries were told to engage Mnangagwa’s government through Vice President Chiwenga,” one of the insiders said.
But Komichi and Damba would neither confirm nor deny this assertion yesterday, with the former saying it was impolitic to “negotiate via newspapers”.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba also said yesterday that he was not privy to the reported developments.
“These are political party issues. So, talk to (Zanu PF spokesperson Simon) Khaya Moyo,” he said.
On his part, Khaya Moyo said he was aware that Zanu PF and the MDC had met on the sidelines of the launch of the second stage of phase one of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Victoria Falls last Thursday.
However, he said, he was not aware that Chiwenga had been designated to become Zanu PF’s and the government’s point man on the talks.
“I am not aware of that. All I know is that they met in Victoria Falls during the vaccination launch,” Moyo told the Daily News.
This comes after the country’s top clerics, converging under the banner of the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD), shared with Zanu PF, the MDC and the MDC Alliance their draft proposal for national talks.
The ZHOCD is made up of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Union of the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe — these bodies are believed to represent about 80 percent of the country’s Christians.
Mwonzora and Chamisa have been stepping up their chase for talks with Mnangagwa and other key stakeholders over the past few months.
Since assuming the position of opposition leader, Mwonzora has particularly been preaching the politics of unity and tolerance — which has endeared him to many strife-weary Zimbabweans.
Recently, Chamisa has also twice reiterated his desire to hold dialogue with Mnangagwa and other key stakeholders, in the interest of the country.
Speaking in Harare at a meeting organised by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Chamisa revealed that he had written several letters and also sent a number of emissaries to Mnangagwa about this — to no avail thus far.
At the same time, he also reiterated his call for a broad coalition of opposition parties and other key stakeholders to push for reforms and national dialogue.
In the meantime, political analysts such as renowned professor of World Politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Stephen Chan, have said that dialogue is the best way to end Zimbabwe’s challenges.
“The situation in Zimbabwe is dire, so that posturing is simply futile. I think everyone is slowly coming to the realisation that dialogue is unavoidable.
“Certainly, the view in the international community is that talks that are unconditional — on all sides — open and transparent, should take place.
“Inclusive means inclusive. The MDC has split. It cannot at this moment be repaired. Both factions need to have a place at the talks,” the respected Chan told the Daily News recently.