BY KENNETH NYANGANI
ZANU PF yesterday set conditions for talks with opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa, saying he must first publicly distance himself from British politicians.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said the ruling party was open for talks with Chamisa on condition he disassociates himself from statements made by Lord Jonathan Oaths in the British House of Lords supporting him.
“We call upon the CCC to order and distance themselves from John Oath’s statements. How do we negotiate with you when you are associated with such statements? Chamisa should be patriotic by distancing himself from such statements if he is willing to talk to us,” Mutsvangwa said.
In 2008, Zanu PF entered into talks with the then MDC led by the late trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai following the disputed harmonised elections, resulting in the formation of an inclusive government.
The unity government brought relative stability as the economy dollarised after world record-breaking hyperinflation made the Zimbabwe dollar worthless.
There are mounting calls for the country to dollarise as inflation creeps towards hyper levels, racing to 96,4% last week.
Oates told the British Parliament that the March 26 by-elections were held in an unlevel electoral field against Chamisa’s CCC with Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance, which he described as a Zanu PF project, having it easy.
“In those elections, the main opposition party was denied the right even to use its own name in these elections or to access the public funds it was entitled to,” Oates said.
However, Mutsvangwa said Oates had no business “poking his nose” into the country’s affairs.
“For a British Lord to have the temerity that we don’t like Douglas Mwonzora (MDC Alliance leader) because he is not opposed to Zanu PF the way we like Chamisa, that is the height of imperial arrogance and that is unacceptable.
“We appeal to the opposition and in particular Chamisa. This is the occasion the CCC must make a decision. There is a duty to choose the flag or the country over anything else,” Mutsvangwa said.
However, CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba said the opposition party was not interested in having any talks with Zanu PF, saying: “We have never pushed for dialogue with Zanu PF, but for a national dialogue including the churches. The Zanu PF government is not legitimate. It has been rejected by the Western community. Mnangagwa is not legitimate, and no one wants to be associated with Mnangagwa’s government.”
Chamisa insists that Mnangagwa rigged the 2018 elections in his favour, and has refused to recognise his legitimacy even after the Constitutional Court dismissed his court challenge.
“Zanu PF must make sure to resolve legitimate issues and they should stop the abuse of citizens and they are the perpetrators of violence,” Siziba added.
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said Zanu PF will use its parliamentary majority soon to railroad the controversial Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill which seeks to regulate civic society organisations and non-governmental organisations including independent trusts.
Zanu PF often accuses NGOs and civic society organisations of being foreign funded to push a regime change agenda.
Critics have dismissed the PVO Bill as an attempt by Mnangagwa to silence critics, civic groups and NGOs which have exposed corruption, misgovernance and spoken out against human rights abuses.