By Anna Chibamu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling Zanu PF party have ignored calls for dialogue by opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa even as the country’s economic meltdown continues.
MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume confirmed the rebuff at a press conference last Friday, warning that “without dialogue, Zimbabweans would have to resort to the constitution which allows for demonstrations or a collective action that ensures their voices are heard”.
The disputed July 30 elections have been followed by a deepening of the country’s economic meltdown with foreign currency shortages resulting in fuel shortages as well as demands for salaries to be paid in foreign currency by public service workers.
A strike by junior doctors is now in its second month while teachers have also warned that schools may not re-open for the new school term this Tuesday if government does not agree to pay wages in US dollars.
Chamisa blames the economic crisis on President Mnangagwa’s lack of legitimacy after what the opposition describes as a stolen election which was also followed by deadly violence that claimed the lives of six people.
“The legitimacy question is still on,” Mafume told reporters in Harare last Friday.
“As long as it is not resolved, problems in this country will remain in place. We are able to restore this nation. We have done it before. Our former Minister of Health (Henry Madzorera) has done it well before and he can do it again.
“We need to re-engage with the international community on a basis that is rational where we are able to comply with the international norms and standards, where we are able to have foreign direct investments (FDI) and tap into international finance as a way forward and that needs to be done as a matter of urgency.”
He added; “However, that cannot be done when we are not talking to each other.
“We have put the dialogue issue out there and our President Nelson Chamisa has talked about it. Our leadership has talked about it yet, there has been no reciprocal desire to dialogue by the current regime.”
Chamisa and the MDC have lately been touting the need to establish a transitional authority to take over government, a proposal rejected by Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.
The ruling party argues that it secured a clear mandate in the July 30 ballot which was also confirmed by the highest court in the land after Constitutional Court unanimously dismissed Chamisa’s challenge against presidential election results.
The opposition leader is however continuing to pressure the administration for dialogue and recently met South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa over the issue.
“The economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe is worsening and what is important is that this affects our neighbouring countries, particularly South Africa,” said Mafume, explaining Chamisa’s visit to Pretoria.
“We feel that Zimbabwe is becoming a regional security threat because of the failure by Mnangagwa’s government to solve the political stalemate over his illegitimacy.
“The economic crisis has the effect of causing a burden to South Africa owing to the exodus of people that are fleeing the worsening economy.
“Mnangagwa has refused to listen to our concerns, so we felt it was better for us to meet President Ramaphosa to listen to our concerns and also to relay our message to Mnangagwa.
“The people of Zimbabwe continue to suffer and, as a party that was voted for by millions of people, we will do what we can to offer solutions.”