POLITICS

President Mnangagwa views all losing candidates equally: George Charamba

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa views all losing presidential candidates of the 2018 elections equally, Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba has said.

Charamba said this in response to MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s demands that some candidates be excluded from the national dialogue process because they do not have “meaningful support.”

But Charamba said: “The issue is not about the size of your constituency; that is why I spoke about the principle of parity. Presidential candidate Bryn Mteki’s intellect does not diminish because he didn’t galvanise support on the ground. To the extent that he submitted his name for the elections means he has a view point on the nation.”

MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume was not amused: “Why are they trying to dilute the problem? We cannot move on before we sit down. First, we must meet Mnangagwa, but eventually there must be inclusivity that brings all parties. The (MDC) president has no problem meeting with Mnangagwa any day.”

He said the issue of having the talks under the guidance of an impartial convener was fundamental.

“Among other things, the convener has to be credible, neutral, and recognisable, he must be somebody who is recognisable to Sadc and the AU and that is not too much to demand for. Of course, if a local person meets those requirements, then fine, but we do not see what’s not local about somebody from the Sadc region, what they are asking for is not usual, when you have a conflict you need someone from outside. We want Sadc and the AU as the guarantors of such talks,” he said.

Professor of World Politics at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, Stephen Chan, said even if Mnangagwa and Chamisa were to agree on some power sharing arrangements, the economy will remain a source of problems.

“Basically, all they could talk about would be how much power can be shared. Neither man, however, and neither party, has a realistic economic plan. The truth that both decline to share with the Zimbabwean people is that the economic foundations of the country are so corroded that no rescue plan can succeed without causing, for something like five years, very much more suffering than even now. No one has the political courage to say that in Zimbabwe right now,” Chan said.

International Crisis Group senior consultant for Southern Africa Piers Pigou said there is need to come up with an inclusive framework for talks and a credible convener, otherwise grandstanding and posturing will continue.

“The faceoff between ED and Chamisa illustrates precisely why this process cannot be an exclusive political exercise, and must include civil society and other constituencies. A more inclusive process must also be facilitated by a credible team that understands process and can introduce a measure of accountability,” Cham told the Daily News on Sunday.

“We should not be surprised to see the old and young bull circling each other and sizing each other up, but both will have to do a lot more to convince Zimbabweans and others that these postures are anything more than a play to retain or assume power,” said Pigou.

Analysts predicted that eventually, Zanu PF and MDC will reach a compromise, adding the present stand-off is largely posturing and political gamesmanship.

Namibia-based academic Admire Mare said Mnangagwa and Chamisa must agree on a negotiator first and then meet to resolve the political and economic crisis.

“Eventually they will have to talk in order to unlock the political gridlock which has kept the country in limbo for the past seven months. Dialogue is a process which encompasses climbing down and up depending on the wider balance of forces,” Mare told the daily News on Sunday.

“It’s normal for the two to play hard ball at the formative stages of 

the process. Both sides are bringing their preconditions to the table, which is very normal. However, there is need for a mediator to help these parties to find each other and address issues like the military factor, human rights violations and the legitimacy question,” said Mare. — DailyNews/ZOOMZimbabwe

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