Zimbabwe: Govt Dismisses Chamisa Speech

22 January 2020

Government has dismissed MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa's address which he made to his supporters in Harare yesterday as a series of contradictions.

Mr Chamisa told a paltry crowd in his so-called 2020 Agenda launch in Mbare, Harare, that the military should be involved in a "sincere dialogue" that should be underwritten by the international community.

He also made a major climbdown on his demands for dialogue saying he never said legitimacy was a precondition for the dialogue.

All along Mr Chamisa has been claiming his party does not recognise President Mnangagwa despite his victory in the 2018 presidential election, which was upheld by the Constitutional Court after it dismissed the MDC's challenge of the poll outcome.

"I never said legitimacy should be a precondition for the dialogue, but it should be one of the issues up for discussion," said Mr Chamisa.

He further told the crowd that he would not join the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) for fear of being swallowed.

Reacting to his sentiments, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) Mr George Charamba said apart from the flowery language used by Mr Chamisa in his speech, it was a "complete nothing full of contradictions".

"If you try and strip this whole so-called agenda speech of all the flowery nature of his language, what stares you in the face is a series of contradictions," said Mr Charamba.

"He now seeks to introduce the military into the dialogue without realising that he is running foul to the Constitution. At one level, you can't be saying security forces must be apolitical, but at the same time you are making them a stakeholder in a political dialogue.

"Secondly, he has lifted the issue of legitimacy as a precondition for dialogue. The question then that stands is what else remains? When he says legitimacy is not a precondition, so what else necessitates a dialogue yet in fact all along and by his own confession including his interaction with churches, he was saying the number one question is the question of legitimacy?"

With regards to Mr Chamisa's fears to join POLAD, Mr Charamba said: "For the first time he comes clean on what it is that which makes him averse to POLAD. He does not have the confidence that he will prevail under the POLAD framework.

"He fears being swallowed through his own words because he knows he has to contend with 18 other political parties. Secondly, he has confirmed that he fears meeting his erstwhile comrades who have broken ranks with him. He referred to his erstwhile comrades as 'zvipopi zvinoruma makumbo' so you can see that he is approaching a national framework with fears which are domestic to his own party."

Mr Charamba said Government had also forced the MDC-Alliance from ritualising the August and January violence by making sure there was no return to lawlessness in the name of commemorating those events.

As such, Mr Charamba said, MDC-Alliance was now shifting tact from creating events that catch the attention of the West and European Union, in particular ahead of its February meeting.

Mr Charamba said the MDC-Alliance was now pinning hopes on external forces after Mr Chamisa said: "If dialogue fails, toita zvimwe, kana zvaramba toita zvimwe kusvikira dzimwe nyika dzapindira."

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