BY MOSES MATENGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says he will not hold any talks with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa outside the platform he set up with fringe political parties that took part in last year’s elections.
Mnangagwa’s statement made yesterday is likely to dampen the spirits of many people who celebrated former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s exploratory meetings with Zimbabwe’s key political players in Harare last week.
Mbeki had indicated that he would return to Zimbabwe before end of the year to continue with the talks after holding separate meetings with Mnangagwa and Chamisa.
Mnangagwa told journalists in Harare yesterday that he had already created a platform for engagement under the Political Actors’ Dialogue (Polad) and Chamisa was welcome to join them. He said Mbeki never pushed for direct talks between him and his rival.
“He never pushed for talks when we met. We are old friends and he asked about the political situation in the country,” Mnangagwa said.
“I told him that we have a platform in place (for dialogue) and that is the only platform (where) dialogue will take place.”
After meeting Mbeki, Chamisa insisted that meaningful dialogue could only be between himself and Mnangagwa.
The MDC leader rejected his rival’s 2018 poll victory, arguing that the elections were rigged.
“That is a sideshow. We don’t want a political rally, we need political dialogue,” he said. “We don’t want sideshows to settle some other secondary or primary scores.”
Polad includes MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe, National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku and leaders of several obscure political parties.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said the MDC leader would never join Polad.
“He (Mnangagwa) is dreaming. If he wants to believe what he wants, let him believe it,” Sibanda said.
“It is delusional to think that there is dialogue at Polad and the rest of the world is seeing that and we hope they will wake up to that reality.
Polad members will today meet Mnangagwa at his Kwekwe farm after they requested for a meeting in a “relaxed” environment.
George Charamba, the president’s spokesperson revealed that the meeting was being held at the behest of the opposition parties.
“It was Polad members who requested for a meeting in a relaxed environment,” he said.
“So there will be around one and a half hours of business and there will be a tour of the farm.”
Dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa is largely viewed as the only way out of Zimbabwe’s intensifying political crisis that has stalled efforts to revive the economy.
In his Unity Day message, Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans must rise above party politics and capitalise on the unity brought about by the late former president Robert Mugabe and the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo that led to a united Zanu PF in 1987.
“This immutable goal requires all hands on deck regardless of politics, tribe, region, race or creed,” he said.
“Zimbabwe needs all hands: black or white, long or short, tender, clean or greased, fisted or open.”
He criticised anti-government protests saying the country would not entertain any “mobilisation around narrow, anti-nation sentiments”.
“We must, therefore, seek to be more peaceful and more united through greater interaction, greater justice and more balanced development,” he said.