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Mnangagwa in failed tactical retreat, as pressure mounts

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to sidestep the current threats by the United Kingdom and United States of America of stiffer measures against his administration, by calling for a flawed dialogue, snubbed by the main opposition, Movement for Democratic Alliance.

Mnangagwa convened what critics called an uncoordinated, rushed meeting, after the issue of Zimbabwe had been topping agenda in UK’s parliament, calling for further punitive measures. According to analysts, the meeting was meant to fool the international community that things were now back on track, however, the absence of key players particularly MDC-Alliance president Nelson Chamisa has put Mnangagwa’s plot into disarray.

It is now back to square one, fresh headache for Mnangagwa.

Meanwhile, as if that was not enough, senior army official Brigadier general Douglas Nyikayaramba told a press briefing yesterday that the military will remain deployed in the streets. He went ahead making unfounded allegations that the protesters broke into the armoury and stole weapons which they used to shoot other protesters. This narrative had been widely disputed, with critics saying it cannot be possible for protesters to stole things like helicopters, guns, water cannons, and armoured military vehicles.

Political commentator Elder Mabhunu says Mnangagwa’s move to invite political opponents to a meeting was just a tactical retreat meant to fool the international community, that Zimbabweans have now found a solution.

“Mnangagwa is now feeling the heat. After concerns have been raised in the UK parliament, and sensing the danger of being further isolated, and hit by additional punitive measures, he wanted to hoodwink the international world that as last he was committed to a political dialogue.

“If he was indeed sincere with the dialogue, he has addressed some of the concerns raised by Chamisa,” he says.

Mabhunu adds that the demands by made by the MDC-Alliance leader are genuine and ideal for fruitful dialogue.

Chamisa’s demands include the end to military and police brutality on unarmed civilians, end to political persecution, the return to rule of law, the recalling of the military from the streets, and end to judicial capture among others. Chamisa said Mnangagwa’s sincerity can be seen by addressing these issues, added that the current environment is not conducive for meaningful talks.

Apparently, speaking after the meeting one of the invited participants Daniel Shumba described the meeting as a mere talk show or circus any without substance. He said he did not have confidence in the talks as it lacked what mattered most. “It was disappointingly unstructured, lacked clear agenda, …,” he said in an update emerging from the meeting.

Many analysts commended Chamisa for refusing to be taken for a ride by Mnangagwa. They agree with the MDC-Alliance leader that genuine talks can only take place after the issues on the ground like state sponsored abuses have been addressed.

They say Mnangagwa’s plans of gate crashing into the Common Wealth went up in smoke, and his readmission into the family of nations have been dented. Zimbabwe government have been in isolation for too long, after former president Robert Mugabe’s human rights abuses topped the charts.

When Mnangagwa took over power, hopes were high that the isolation would end, but that was not to be, as he went on to kick the can down the same road. He even went worse with the deployment of military and police officers on the streets, shooting and killing civilians, a stage that was never reached during Mugabe’s time, apart from the Gukurahundi massacres to which Mnangagwa also participated.

 

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