National dialogue in disarray

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempts to foster national dialogue with opposition political parties are hitting a snag with some leaders pulling out, accusing the Zanu PF leader of being insincere.

At least four opposition political parties, which initially joined the discussions, have pulled out, accusing the President of having dirty hands.

Nkosana Moyo’s Alliance for the People’s Agenda (APA) this week became the fourth party to walk out of the talks, following Daniel Shumba’s United Democratic Alliance and Noah Manyika’s Build Zimbabwe Alliance, as well as People’s Progressive Party of Zimbabwe, led by Timothy Chiguvare.

The parties accuse Mnangagwa of insincerity, saying the talks would not amount to anything as long as MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa was not part of the initiative.

Moyo announced APA would stay out of the talks because they were saddened by recent statements made by Mnangagwa at a Zanu PF rally in Masvingo.

“We observed with dismay as he (Mnangagwa) spoke in the most unpresidential manner, among other things bragged about having deployed the army that as we know killed people,” APA said.

“More worrisomely, he openly threatened that anyone, who according to him, engaged in acts of disorderliness would have their life shortened.”

Moyo said such statements by Mnangagwa did not show any seriousness in building bridges in the politically-volatile Zimbabwe, ravaged by two rounds of State-sponsored violence since the July 2018 elections.

APA said without Zanu PF and MDC Alliance in the same room, the talks would not yield anything and were, thus, a waste of time.

“Zanu PF and MDC-A must be present. Let us recall the official voting statistics at presidential level, ED 50,6%, NC 44,3% (and the) rest 4,9%. If the idea of national dialogue is to try and bring the nation to a place of cohesion, then it should be self-evident that a platform that excludes either Zanu PF or MDC-A cannot be considered as a serious undertaking towards creating national cohesion,” Moyo said.

Chiguvare wrote to Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, saying he would not be taking part in the national dialogue.

“We would like to wish the nation a fruitful dialogue and hope to partake in future national events,” he said in the letter dated February 21.

Already, Chamisa’s MDC Alliance and Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party have snubbed the talks, saying unless they were convened at a neutral place by an independent convener, they viewed them as inconsequential.

Zanu PF legal affairs secretary Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said the ruling party was not worried about the withdrawals, as the parties were exercising their democratic right not to participate.

“We are not worried. We were given the mandate to run this country. We are simply saying come and join the club of rulers. If you are called to the club of rulers, you should feel honoured to be in the club of rulers, but if you don’t want, you can go to the club of cattle herders, that is the freedom of association,” Mangwana said.

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