By Robert Tapfumaneyi
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has implored his opponents to recognise him as the country’s legitimately elected leader as he presided over the launch of a national dialogue process Wednesday which was snubbed by his nemesis, Nelson Chamisa of MDC.
The Zimbabwean leader invited all the 22 candidates who challenged him in the disputed July 30 election last year for a process widely expected to bring together the country’s political leadership towards a single national cause.
However, Chamisa was conspicuous by his absence during a meeting which went late into Wednesday evening.
His said on twitter that “We need genuine dialogue under a credible Convener and mediator to solve this crisis” while his spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda also told NewZimbabwe.com the 41-year-old politician was not interested in what he called a “tea party”.
DIALOGUE NOT GAMES..We’ve a political crisis arising out of a disputed and rigged Presidential election result in Zimbabwe.The Presidency is disputed.We need genuine dialogue under a credible Convener and mediator to solve this crisis.Stop citizens abuses, beatings and arrests.
— nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) February 6, 2019
Chamisa has adamantly refused to recognise the Zanu PF leader he accuses of stealing the elections which the MDC leader claims to have won.
In comments seen as directed at the leader of the country’s most popular opposition, Mnangagwa urged all to accept the outcome of the election.
“In view of the July 30 harmonised election results and subsequent Constitutional Court pronouncement, I suggest that we all accept the results of the harmonised elections as the legitimate expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people in order for us to focus on the next elections which are due in 2023,” he said.
The Zanu PF leader is under pressure to remedy a deepening economic crisis that has sparked fierce rioting among citizens recently, coupled with recurrent strike actions by a restless government workforce.
Calls for the national leader to close ranks with his enemies in the national interest have reached a crescendo.
Mnangagwa seemed to be acknowledging this when he said all Zimbabweans should speak with one voice.
“We should close ranks as a nation, speak with one voice but that does not mean all agree but disagree in harmony. Above all, it should open doors for interaction between and among us.
“Let us be remembered as a generation that united Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe is one, our national flag is one, our national anthem is one,” he said.
Today we began a national dialogue, the fulfilment of my pledge to engage & consult all Presidential aspirants on ways to move Zimbabwe forward. Let us all put dialogue over conflict, and collaboration over confrontation. Individually we are a drop, together we are a mighty ocean pic.twitter.com/TdIrtRYnve
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) February 6, 2019