THE United States government has called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to show his statesmanship by urgently engaging his political nemesis MDC leader Nelson Chamisa for reforms needed to restore political stability and rescue the country’s free-falling economy.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/ SHARON SIBINDI/ OBEY MANAYITI/ ANDREW KUNAMBURA</strong
US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian A Nichols told NewsDay Weekender in Bulawayo on Wednesday ahead of the Zanu PF national conference in Esigodini that Mnangagwa stood to gain more international respect if he initiated dialogue on reforms with the youthful opposition leader.
“I hope that our political forces will work towards promoting the reforms that are necessary to make Zimbabwe more democratic, more prosperous, and successful and more open to the world. I think there are a number of very strong proposals that have been put forward by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the opposition parties,” Nichols said.
He said the two leaders should work together to repeal repressive legislation like Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act and also open up broadcasting space.
Nichols also emphasised peace-building and reconciliation mechanisms, particularly for Gukurahundi victims.
Early this week, both leaders gave conflicting signals on the proposed talks, with Chamisa saying he was ready for dialogue, while Mnangagwa declared he would not talk to losers.
his comes amid reports that former Kenyan chief justice Willy Mutunga was in the country to broker talks between the two protagonists.
Mnangagwa yesterday dug in, telling delegates at the ongoing Zanu PF party conference at Mzingwane High School in Matabeleland South province that he had effectively shut the door on Chamisa and would go it alone, buoyed by his “resounding victory” in the July 30 presidential race.
His deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, told the same gathering that his boss had extended an olive branch to the opposition, but they had spurned it.
“We won the elections resoundingly. The two-thirds parliamentary majority and the 50,6% victory in the presidential election was by no means a small victory. The law requires one to get 50% plus one vote to be declared a winner of the poll. However, our revolutionary party won resoundingly. The victory is testimony of our party’s popularity,” Mnangagwa said.
“We were given the mandate to govern the country for the next five years, full stop. No GNU [government of national unity],” he declared, drawing wild applause from delegates.
Mnangagwa described recent protests held against him by the MDC as “irritating noise” from sore losers.
“Results came from all corners of the country, for which I am truly grateful. One of the 22 presidential candidates took us to court refusing to accept the majority vote. This culminated in a Constitutional Court ruling, which confirmed me as the winner, as was decided by the people of Zimbabwe.
“Do not despair or lose sleep. I urge all party members not to be deterred by those making irritating noises. As Zanu PF, we have no agenda for GNU. Let us, instead, focus on rebuilding the economy and improve the quality of life for our people,” Mnangagwa said.
The Zanu PF leader also disclosed that he would next week release findings of the August 1 post-election fatal shootings inquiry.
Mnangagwa received an executive summary of the findings from the commission of inquiry led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, two weeks ago.
The Zanu PF leader, who has since been endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate for 2023, told his party members to redirect their energies towards restoring economic stability in the country.
“This conference is being held against the backdrop of an economy which is characterised by fuel shortages, high cost of drugs, medicines, farming inputs and fertilisers as well as a wide range of basic commodities,” he said.
“We condemn the opportunistic and gluttonous triple pricing regime practices by some business persons that have resulted in untold suffering to the majority of our people.
“Government along with industry continues to dialogue and interrogate the … build-ups towards finding lasting solutions which will bring permanent relief to consumers and greater stability to the economy. We also need to address the question of our own domestic currency, once the correct economic fundamentals are in place.”
Turning to devolution, Mnangagwa cautioned that the governance system must not fragment the nation.
“In implementing devolution, let us always remain mindful that we are a unitary State with diverse cultures, languages, believes and religion. We must, therefore, use this concept for economic advancement and as a vehicle to propel development. Devolution must improve the quality of life of all our people in very corner of the country as we strive to become a middle income economy by 2030,” he said.