Source: ‘Sona snub strains talks’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 3, 2019
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
PROSPECTS for dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa hit serious turbulence after the MDC snubbed and rubbished the Zanu PF leader’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Tuesday.
Highly-placed sources told NewsDay yesterday that Mnangagwa’s team was willing to bend backwards and accommodate talks with Chamisa if his party showed goodwill and respected government by attending Sona in Parliament.
“You must be aware that there are efforts both internationally and locally, being led by Speaker of House of Assembly (Jacob) Mudenda, to get the two on a negotiating table, especially in the face of an imploding economy,” a source said.
“The MDC was supposed to play ball, show respect and goodwill to President Mnangagwa so that there can be some give-and-take going into the dialogue, but yesterday (Tuesday)’s actions put strain on the efforts.”
Chamisa also rubbished the Sona delivery, saying it was a waste of resources and failed to address the issues that affected the ordinary people in Zimbabwe.
“A Sona that does not address key issues facing the nation such as lack of electricity, water, fuel, non-availability of cash, poor wages, human rights abuses, terror, abductions, legitimacy and reforms is a waste of resources and an unprovoked insult. This invites us all to act,” Chamisa tweeted.
MDC chairperson Tabitha Khumalo addressed the Press while Mnangagwa was delivering his address to the Zanu PF legislators.
“They are busy wasting people’s time talking about nothing for nothing. The time has come for them to understand that as a country, we can fight as much as we can, but we need dialogue,” she said.
“But when we talk of dialogue, we are not talking about a dialogue where it’s a church choir. We want independent convenors to map a way forward.”
Another source said Mnangagwa’s camp is now adamant and will not be giving in to any genuine reforms because of the behaviour exhibited by Chamisa and his MPs.
The MDC says it was galvanising its forces for confrontation that can bring change before December.
Early in the week, Information ministry permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana hinted that the conduct of the MDC during Sona was going to be critical on how the nation would move forward.
National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku, also dismissed Mnangagwa’s Sona, saying it was high on words, too ambitious and did not proffer any solutions for the people of Zimbabwe.
“They are worse than (the late former President Robert) Mugabe, especially the level of indecision. I read a useful article which said Mnangagwa, through his Sona last year, set an ambitious target that has not been achieved. It does not begin to even address the basic issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Madhuku said his party was only participating in the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) with the hope that it would bring positive change to Zimbabwe and also to ensure that the Zanu PF government does not collapse.
“We don’t want them to collapse because it will not help the country, but we also want to push for reforms that allow the change to happen. If Polad has to collapse because people have resisted change, so let it be, but we will give it a try,” he said.