Following recent unrest in Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, spoke to FRANCE 24. He rejected claims by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that the MDC had attempted “regime change” with foreign backing by organising mass protests in January. Chamisa went on to say he was willing to take part in “a credible and genuine dialogue” with the president.
Speaking to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman from the Zimbabwean capital Harare, Chamisa said the recent protests were ignited by fuel price hikes and led by trade unions, not by his party.
“We are not working with any foreign power,” he added.
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader accused the government of serious crimes in the ensuing crackdown on the protests – including alleged extrajudicial killings –and said that Mnangagwa should be held to account. “The constitution does not allow the taking away of life,” he told FRANCE 24.
Chamisa noted that even former president Robert Mugabe, who himself was accused of severe repression during his time in power, has strongly criticised Mnangagwa’s crackdown. The opposition leader called Mugabe’s remarks “confirmation” that the current president had “crossed the line”.
Chamisa said he was ready “anytime” for “a credible and genuine” dialogue with Mnangagwa but insisted that it should be done through international mediation, citing South Africa, the inter-governmental Southern African Development Community or the African Union as “ideal” go-betweens.
Finally, he dismissed reports that he had offered Mnangagwa a power-sharing agreement under which they would each lead the country for two years.
Watch the interview below