HARARE – MDC leader Nelson Chamisa says he will not be “tricked” into a government of national unity (GNU) like what happened with the party’s founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai, in 2008.
Chamisa poured cold water on sentiments that he must smoke a peace pipe with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stem an economic Armageddon which has condemned the majority of the populace into the darkest depths of poverty.
“I don’t know what they will be inviting me to talk about,” he said in reference to overtures from the ruling Zanu PF party in an interview with the Voice of America.
“One thing for certain, no to GNU: No to the issue of repeating what they did to president Tsvangirai. This is a new ball game, this is a new direction. If we are to have any kind of engagement, it has to be an engagement on issues to save Zimbabwe.”
Tsvangirai, who succumbed to colon cancer in February this year, was forced into an uneasy coalition government with former president Robert Mugabe between 2008 and 2013 following inconclusive polls held five years ago.
The GNU brought a modicum of stability to the country’s economy although it suffered endless ructions, with Mugabe pulling every trick in the book to undermine Tsvangirai as a junior partner.
To avoid walking into the same trap as Tsvangirai, Chamisa said the MDC had a catalogue of conditions that must be met before they could sit down to negotiate with Zanu PF.
“We have to put on the table five critical issues that have to be discussed. First, one is the issue of legitimacy; the issue of the will of the people.
“It doesn’t make sense for people to go for an election, vote for a candidate of their choice only for that vote to be disregarded, discarded and ignored.
“We want the vote to count; we want the voice of the people to be respected.
“For that to happen, we need to understand the contours of engagement, the terrain of engagement. Who does what, when and how?” said the MDC leader, who still insists he won the July 30 presidential election.
Chamisa, who lost his appeal in the Constitutional Court, denied reports there are on-going behind-the-scenes discussions between him and Mnangagwa.
He said: “Let me state categorically, definitively and authoritatively that I have not had any discussion or any talks with Mnangagwa or any of his representatives.”
Chamisa said he does not want to be a leader of opposition in Parliament as had been suggested by Mnangagwa and diplomats in the United Kingdom and the European Union.
“I have seen a lot of things that Chamisa want to do this, I am actually surprised. I do not want to be the Prime Minister; I never said that I want to be a Prime Minister.
“I do not want to be the leader of opposition in Parliament because I am not part of the opposition; we are the ruling and reigning party.
Interestingly, a State newspaper floated the idea of Chamisa pushing to become the country’s prime minister at the weekend.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo emphatically said there was no need for another GNU.
“The challenges we have are being addressed. So, what is the need for that?” he said.
Analysts believe, however, that another power-sharing government between the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC would be one of the steps critical to the restoration of economic stability in the country.