By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says President Emmerson Mnangagwa should not waste the nation’s time through dialoguing with losers from the July 30, 2018 elections.
He was addressing a public meeting called for politicians, civil society leaders, business and other interested groups by a local think-tank.
The aim of the meeting was to allow locals to brainstorm on how they could remedy a deepening political and economic crisis threatening to plunge the country back to its bitter past.
The main opposition MDC, which has parliamentary representation and controls most urban authorities, has refused to attend Mnangagwa’s dialogue meetings at State House insisting the country’s leader was not sincere with the success of the process.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa has gone on to engage the rest of those who challenged him in the July 30 2018 election without MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who came a close second to him in the hotly disputed poll.
Mutambara, a leader who was part of the country’s unity government 2009-2013, said the President should stop his meetings which will not result in any meaningful change to the status quo.
“Mnangagwa must not waste time meeting losing presidential candidates who only voted for themselves,” he said.
“…The nature of the dialogue is important. You can’t invite 20 elements and bring them to State house and say ‘we are going to dialogue’. Dialogue of who, with who, without MDC Alliance.
“If Zanu PF and the government are serious about dialogue, there must dialogue with the MDC Alliance.
“Those 20 people don’t matter. They are irrelevant. You can bring civil society, business people, MDC Alliance and talk.”
Among losing presidential candidates who have attended Mnangagwa’s meetings are National Constitutional Assembly’s Lovemore Madhuku, Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T), Violet Mariyacha of United Democracy Movement (UDM), FreeZim Congress’s Joseph Busha, Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) Noah Manyika, Daniel Shumba of United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Nkosana Moyo of Alliance for Peoples Agenda (APA) and Melbah Dzapasi of #1980 Freedom Movement Zimbabwe.
Manyika and Shumba have since pulled out of the meetings.
“Why do you dialogue with someone who has two votes, they will talk about what,” Mutambara said.
The ex-government official said dialogue must both be “serious and bona fide” and also have a neutral conveyor.
Mutambara was however quick to remind his erstwhile MDC colleagues that, unlike 2008 when a GNU was formed after a negotiated settlement, this time they do not have enough to leverage from in terms of forcing their demands to be met.
“I must say to my colleagues in the opposition ‘again you must also understand that you are very weak’,” he said.
“Unlike us, Morgan (late MDC leader Tsvangirai) and I were very strong. I want to be very honest.
“In our case, Morgan and I, together we controlled Parliament with 109 MPs, Zanu was in the minority. We were powerful.
“Morgan came first election in the 2008 election and then the run off he pulled out. That was a strategic move. So he had that power.
“More importantly for us, South Africa rejected Mugabe’s narrative, SADC rejected Mugabe’s narrative, the AU rejected Mugabe’s narrative.
“Unfortunately for my colleagues right now, South Africa has embraced this regime, SADC has embraced these guys and AU the same, so their bargaining power is minimised.
“So what I am saying is everybody must come together and understand the balance of forces.”