Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has rejected calls by the opposition to form an inclusive government to tackle the country’s worsening economic situation.
President Mnangagwa, who in July won a controversial election, told a meeting of his ruling Zanu-PF party on Thursday that those calling for a unity government were dreaming.
He was reacting to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC), who early this week said Zimbabwe needed a transitional authority to fix the economic decline that has resulted in widespread shortages of basic commodities.
Chamisa insists that President Mnangagwa rigged the July 30 elections and was pushing for dialogue to end the political impasse, but the president said the opposition’s demands would not be entertained.
“Let those who dream continue to do so as we chart the way forward,” President Mnangagwa said.
Chamisa told journalists earlier in the week; “the first thing is for this nation to go on a path of political dialogue. We need a national transitional authority so that we can resolve this crisis”.
He said church leaders had approached him proposing to mediate in the talks with President Mnangagwa, who came into power last year following a coup against long time ruler Robert Mugabe.
Chamisa said his party was open to dialogue even though it did not want to legitimise President Mnangagwa’s government.
A unity government formed by Mr Mugabe and late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2019 temporarily halted the country’s economy decline, but the problems resurfaced five years later when Zanu-PF went it alone.
Zimbabwe plunged into a fresh economic crisis early this month after the government introduced a raft of fiscal reforms that included a 2 percent tax on electronic money transactions.
A shortage of basic commodities, medicines and fuel was worsened by lack of foreign currency.
President Mnangagwa told his party that the economic problems were caused by saboteurs and vowed to go after them.
“The government will take decisive action to deal with shortages, some of which are caused by saboteurs and rogue businesspeople,” he said.
The president also attributed the shortages to ‘panic buying’ saying it was fuelled by social media.