PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, who won the disputed July 30 election last year, is amenable to national dialogue but warned the MDC and other opposition political parties not to come with preconditions to the negotiating table.
This comes after calls from civil society for broad-based inclusive dialogue following last week’s nationwide protests, during which 12 civilians were shot dead and over 70 others seriously injured in a brutal crackdown by security forces.
Mnangagwa, whose legitimacy has been questioned by the opposition MDC since he was announced winner of the presidential election by a water-thin 50,6% , has indicated that an all-inclusive national dialogue was imperative in addressing Zimbabwe’s unrelenting economic crisis.
The protests were triggered by government’s decision to increase fuel prices by 150%.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday said Mnangagwa was sincere in his invitation for dialogue with the opposition, among other stakeholders, but warned that organising violent protests could blight the prospects for dialogue to discuss the economic crisis gripping the country.
“President Mnangagwa’s concept for dialogue is wider. Soon after elections he asked for dialogue,” Charamba said.
“What Zanu-PF and this government will not countenance is someone who asks for dialogue while pointing a gun at the head of the government. And metaphorically the gun in this sense is queuing hooligans on the streets to terrorise and destroy property and cause mayhem.”
He said the onus was upon MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to formally engage Mnangagwa on the need for dialogue, while spelling out issues that needed to be thrashed out at the negotiating table.
“The first interlocutor for dialogue would have been Chamisa. For the first time we saw ED referring to Chamisa by his first name. So now Chamisa is now ripe for dialogue. For now he (Chamisa) is really pushing for it,” Charamba said.
“He is the one who has the issues, so he must tell us about those issues. He is the one who is feeling discomfort so he is the one who has to tell us about why he wants us to dialogue.”
Chamisa this week indicated that talks between various stakeholders would only take off after the release of scores of his supporters who were arrested during last week’s protests.
MDC has since crafted a framework to guide the direction of the dialogue, if the talks ever materialise.
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