THE resolution made by the just-ended MDC fifth congress empowering party president Nelson Chamisa to push for the ouster of President Emmerson Mnangagwa before his five-year term expires is somewhat ambivalent as it does not categorically state how exactly that is going to be implemented.
Two of the proposed means — constitutional removal or using demonstrations and talks — are not new proposals, but a well-worn path that has, in the past, failed to deliver the presidency to the MDC, creating an impression that this resolution was perhaps just meant to appease its restive supporters, some of who have become increasingly disillusioned by the party’s failure to dethrone Zanu PF.
Quite clearly, the last demonstration which saw about several people shot dead by the military is still fresh in people’s minds. Is there someone still willing to pursue that route to confront the Zanu PF behemoth, and at what cost? The constitutional means – primarily an election — has been held and won by Mnangagwa and Zanu PF, whether fairly or fraudulently. But the fact of the matter is that Zanu PF is in power.
Ever since that election, “talks” have become a buzzword, but these never saw the light of day because of the two principals’ entrenched positions regarding what exactly the talks should achieve. On the one hand, the MDC wants talks that will pave way for a transitional authority, which will then make way for an MDC government while Zanu PF wants talks that will bring the MDC into the fold and work together without extensively disturbing the current political status quo.
The MDC’s insistence that Mnangagwa’s presidency is illegitimate has been a major sticking point. On the other hand, Zanu PF’s counter insistence that Mnangagwa won a free and fair election has also been the conundrum around any potential talks between the two major political players whose mutual engagement, it is believed, would unlock the country’s political and economic gridlock.
This now raises the question that if the MDC has resolved to, among other things, “to engage in a national dialogue to reach a political settlement through a transitional mechanism”, what exactly does it mean in light of the current political dynamics?