Zimbabwe: ED-Chamisa Talks - MDC Leader Digs in, Insists On International Mediator

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa (file photo).
17 October 2019

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has insisted on the engagement of an international facilitator before he could be part of any talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe is keen to remedy a fast deteriorating political and economic situation that has seen prices surge almost every day, eroding incomes earned by most workers in the much-resented local currency.

Talks between Mnangagwa and Chamisa, who both lead the country's two major political parties, have been identified as the closest solution to the crisis.

Mnangagwa has since invited presidential election candidates he defeated last year under the so-called Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).

But the move has widely been slammed as a half-hearted attempt to solving the country's myriad problems.

Chamisa has stayed away from the talks, insisting the stage was not appropriate for any engagement that could yield a lasting solution to the national crisis.

In the past few months, Zimbabwean churches have led the push to have the two politicians meet and chat a course to remedy the situation but Chamisa maintains conditions were not yet ripe.

"The president (Chamisa) is still seized with a letter from the churches and will respond via the party," said Chamisa's spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.

"The president is ready to engage in dialogue as early as last year as long as specific conditions for a dialogue are there.

"These include an independent and credible facilitator. Once these conditions are met, which are conditions for any serious dialogue, he will be going forward with it.

"We are at a stage where president Chamisa has offered to dialogue with a minimum of internationally acceptable requirements for a genuine dialogue and Mr Mnangagwa is grandstanding. That is where we are."

Mnangagwa has, in the past, adamantly said Chamisa will not be granted a special respect any different from that he was giving to other participating politicians, none of who garnered at least 2 percent of the national vote in last year's election.

Chamisa insists any serious talks meant to extricate the country from its economic mess should be held between him and Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa has told the media before that he was not going to hire a bulldozer to drag his stubborn rival to the talks.

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