By Brenna Matendere
OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has insisted that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his party must dialogue in order to end the suffering of Zimbabweans as the economy crumbles at an alarming rate.
Rolling power cuts are the order of the day, hitting miners, manufacturers and households.
Long queues at every service station are evidence of the acute fuel shortages, while inflation, estimated at 521,6% in December last year, has decimated wages.
Chamisa also said Mnangagwa had no right to snub dialogue being facilitated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki as only the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe could do that.
He was speaking to NewsDay Weekender on Thursday night during his tour of MDC Midlands province structures, which culminated in his address at Mtapa Hall in Gweru.
“Zimbabweans have their rights. They are the authors of the history of this country. They are the last line of authority in this country. It is not just the question of Mr Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa has no power to define the course of this country alone,” Chamisa said.
“He is just an individual, one citizen. So the future must be defined by all of us. We must, therefore, come together and break barriers so that we have an initiative, whereby we have a national consensus.”
He said 2020 was the year his party would take over power.
“Our message is that in 2020, it is a year to restore legitimacy. In short, we have been telling people what needs to be done to solve this country’s economic and political crises. We need a people’s government. We need to restore the people’s dignity. We need to give people a chance to return to peace and prosperity,” the opposition leader said.
Responding to a question on whether he has been in touch with Mbeki, Chamisa said: “I have not been informed of the latest developments regarding efforts by President Mbeki for dialogue in that regard, save to say Mr Mnangagwa has not been available for dialogue. The reason why I want dialogue is not for anything. We are the biggest parties in the country. So we must look into our problems together collectively and together as a people and find solutions.
“As you know, it takes two to tango. We must smoke a peace pipe for this country to have peace. Zimbabweans are suffering. The whole country is in trouble. We have to look into the problems affecting us. Look at the region, it’s not stable because of us.”
He said Zimbabweans must take the destiny of the country into their own hands if Mnangagwa continues to spurn efforts for dialogue.
“We need to restore legitimacy (in order) to return to stability and prosperity. We need people to be given security and freedoms and rights,” he said.
“We must agree as Zimbabweans, we must agree on what our problem is. Our problem is of democracy and legitimacy. Once we have done that, we cure the problem. We have a comprehensive programme of reforms. We have a nation building agenda, we have a nation healing programme, so that we feed into the international re-engagement programme and also address the humanitarian problems.
Once we do that, then we are able to deal with the international community.”
Added Chamisa: “People of Zimbabwe must come together, churches, trade unions, labour bodies, the youths, women’s groups, civic groups, traditional leaders, civic leaders, political parties, we all come together and chart the way forward for this country. The people have a right to define their future and they will do so. Let’s fix our politics and prosperity will follow.”
Mnangagwa has refused to talk with Chamisa outside the Political Actors Dialogue, a grouping of fringe political parties who dismally lost elections in the 2018 polls, among them Thokozani Khupe of MDC-T and Lovemore Madhuku of NCA.