IN A positive development, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has dropped most of the demands that he had set as fundamental conditions for him to have direct talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Daily News reported.
In addition, the charismatic MDC boss is once again pushing hard for urgent dialogue between him and the Zanu-PF leader in a bid to resolve the country’s deepening political and economic crises.
This comes as Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade – amid growing fears that the country’s economy could be slipping back to the horror 2008 hyper-inflationary era. As a measure of the scale of the crisis facing the country, which has heightened calls for political dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa, official inflation has now hit 66,8 percent – the highest recorded in the southern African nation since it abandoned the worthless Zimbabwe dollar in 2009.
So dire is the economic crisis that Mnangagwa used his Independence Day celebrations address on Thursday to warn companies against hiking the prices of basic consumer goods, which he said was unjustified.
Yesterday, Chamisa said the worsening rot in the country needed him and Mnangagwa to bury their differences and work together to address the myriad crises engulfing the country.
“Where we are going now requires us to think and act together as Zimbabweans. Our dire situation is no longer about MDC or Zanu-PF, but about Zimbabwe.
“We have a nation to build and a generation to defend. We have the power. Come let us reason together!
“No problem is ever too big enough or insurmountable when our hands and minds are put together for the common good,” Chamisa wrote on micro blogging site Twitter.
This comes as the youthful MDC leader has been brawling with Mnangagwa ever since he narrowly lost last year’s historic but hotly-disputed polls.
Chamisa went on then to accuse the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of manipulating the poll results in favour of the Zanu-PF leader.
However, Mnangagwa’s victory was upheld by the Constitutional Court which ruled that Chamisa had failed to provide evidence that he had won the election.
Since then, repeated attempts to persuade Chamisa to join other political parties in a dialogue with Mnangagwa have been futile, as he set tough demands which included having “an independent mediator” presiding over the much-talked about talks.
However, authoritative sources in the MDC told the Daily News yesterday that Chamisa had now “cooled off” some of his demands – as he realised that “unconditional dialogue” was the best way to try and rescue the country from sliding into total chaos.
This included dropping his demands to have a Transitional Authority running the government and having a “neutral “negotiator leading the long-awaited dialogue.
“Such things (dropping some of the demands) will be considered when we come to that. For now, he (Chamisa) wants to engage Mnangagwa and plan a way forward for the nation,” an insider said after Chamisa had tweeted his “desire” to meet with Mnangagwa.
While Mnangagwa has been engaging in dialogue with some fringe political parties, Chamisa has steadfastly refused to be part of the process – saying that “genuine” dialogue could only be between him and the Zanu-PF leader.
However, Mnangagwa has pushed on without him, revealing in an interview with State broadcaster, the ZBC – which was aired on the eve of Independence Day – that he had wanted his younger rival to be leader of the opposition in Parliament, but that his well-meant overture had been snubbed.
“I had proposed that whoever is the leader of the opposition, whether he is in Parliament or outside, we should make such a provision, such that they are recognised … and are accorded that status.
“Because of the fact that you will become officially leader of the opposition, it’s recognition that you have some following, you have some share in the electoral system which is significant and in any case you should be recognised. But that was denied,”Mnangagwa said.
“My view is let us differ on how to run government … build the bridge … a school … craft an economic policy … run agriculture … but we should all remain Zimbabwean and … united,” he added.
Zimbabwe remains in the vice grip of a growing economic crisis which has seen the devastating re-emergence of long fuel queues, worsening foreign currency shortages and shocking increases in the prices of basic goods.
Mnangagwa, who swept to power amid much hope among the generality of the country’s citizens who had endured nearly four decades of hell under former president Robert Mugabe’s ruinous rule, has been battling to re-build Zimbabwe’s moribund economy.
But the tough task of rebuilding country’s shattered economy and lifting the quality of life of its long-suffering people, has so far proven to be a tad too onerous for him and his misfiring Cabinet team.