By NQOBANI NDLOVU/SINDISO DUBE/SIBONGINKOSI MAPHOSA
OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa (pictured) has said he would patiently wait for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to come to the negotiating table, adding that any other options available to him came with dire consequences.
Chamisa has disputed Mnangagwa’s legitimacy since the release of the heavily contested July 2018 presidential election results. While the two have said they are willing to talk, they differ on the nature of the dialogue to solve Zimbabwe’s never-ending socio-economic and political crises.
Mnangagwa is currently having talks with fringe opposition parties under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) forum, a platform Chamisa dismisses as a “Zanu PF choir”.
In December, former South African President Thabo Mbeki was in Zimbabwe to ostensibly break the ice, but Chamisa told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Tuesday
evening that Mnangagwa was the one delaying the dialogue process.
“I have tried to help but I have hit a brickwall, all I have to do is be patient. I could have taken the hard and tougher route in dealing with this matter, but I know the consequences that come with being hard, so I will wait,” Chamisa, who claimed Mnangagwa was “not answering Mbeki’s calls”, said.
Turning to the performance of party councillors and legislators, Chamisa admitted corruption was rife in MDC-run councils before warning that he would wield the axe on councillors and legislators accused of corruption and other improper conduct.
Last month, the party suspended Bulawayo’s ward nine councillor, Donaldson Mabutho over suspected links to the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Chamisa said MDC councillors and legislators would be compelled to sign a lifestyle code of conduct as a deterrent against engaging in graft while in office.
“We can’t be the same with Zanu PF which we are trying to bring down,” Chamisa said.
“We are actually enforcing a new rule within. All councillors and MPs must sign what is called the real change code of ethics and values which says one is not allowed to benefit from where they are stationed.
“I know in Africa we say a goat eats where it is tethered. A goat is also slaughtered where it is eating from. Those who are abusing power should be dealt with accordingly and we won’t hesitate showing them the exit. We can’t have people abusing power at council and parliamentary levels; this is unlike us as a party which is an agent of change.”
He said all local authorities under his party’s leadership would also be subjected to integrity and accountability tests.
“If people have information where they feel our councillors and mayors have crossed the line, they must not hesitate to phone our hotlines and we throw them out because we are not Zanu PF where corruption is celebrated and is a religion,” Chamisa said.
“We are MDC but you also understand the tendency of councillors is to mimic and copy Zanu PF because they have set the standard of leadership and I have told our councillors that our duty is to make sure that we become centres of excellence and also become sources of a difference in our politics.
“Going forward, I have said within the party, certain elements have to be subjected to interrogation and inquires so that we maintain standards. So there will be no sacred cows.”