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Chamisa returns from SA

by Staff reporter
01 Feb 2020 at 19:39hrs | Views
OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa said yesterday that South Africa and the rest of Sadc now fully appreciated the scale of Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis - necessitating urgent intervention.

This comes after Chamisa visited South Africa this week where he updated the country's former president Thabo Mbeki and senior government officials in Pretoria about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, and how this is increasingly threatening regional stability.

"I am back from South Africa where I met many key political stakeholders. I am glad that there is now an appreciation of the grave problems that we have in Zimbabwe across the region.

"They also appreciate the urgency that is needed to find solutions on Zimbabwe … and there is now a shared view on the continent that there is a big crisis in Zimbabwe, which is a good starting point.

"On our part ... we are going to embark on several initiatives to ensure that we resolve the crises in Zimbabwe," Chamisa told the Daily News yesterday.

He revealed that he had told the South African leadership that the situation in Zimbabwe was threatening to degenerate into complete chaos unless there was immediate intervention.

This comes as the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA) and the church in Zimbabwe — among others — have implored President Emmerson Mnangagwa to engage Chamisa in direct talks to help foster progress and development in the country.

"The situation in the country is unsustainable because it is those in government who are making it ungovernable where in other countries it is those who are outside government who foment conflict.

"When you deny people their freedoms, when you actively foment anarchy and chaos, you become an enemy of the people.
"President Mbeki told me that there is shared concern and shared anxiety in the region and on the continent (about Zim) … and he should be coming back here anytime soon," Chamisa added.

This comes as hardliners within both Zanu-PF and the MDC are said to be working hard to scupper Mbeki's Zim mission — including stopping the retired statesman from returning to the country to continue with his valiant efforts to get Mnangagwa and Chamisa to end their political bickering.

Mbeki — who helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and ex-president Robert Mugabe, who are both late — was in the country last December to try and nudge Mnangagwa and Chamisa to hold talks.

Earlier this week, Chamisa's aides had confirmed to the Daily News that the MDC boss was in Johannesburg to meet Mbeki and senior SA government officials — in a bid to unlock the country's political logjam which had worsened the dire economic plight of ordinary Zimbabweans.

"We were expecting that Mbeki would come back, but it seems that this is taking long. So, a decision was made at the highest level that the president (Chamisa) travels to South Africa and appraise the political leadership there of the country's situation," one of the aides said.

This view was later buttressed by Chamisa himself during an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), in which he said he was in that country to remind Pretoria on the urgency of Zimbabwe's dire political and economic situation.

"I have not met with President Mnangagwa since when we were in Parliament … I think it is now almost two years which is quite sad because people compete in an election and are supposed to have a conversation post-election to find a way forward for the nation.

"This is one sad part for me that you just go into an election … meet through the ballot, beyond the ballot you are not able to converse or communicate.

"In Africa, wherever there is a negotiation … there has to be a negotiator because that is our nature as a people," Chamisa said.
"For us to be able to deal with the acrimony … disharmony and disagreement between us and … Mnangagwa, there is need to have a credible negotiator.

"We think that the avenue and platform created by President Mbeki will go a long way to creating this conversation.

"It is now more urgent than ever before because the situation in the country has really taken a nosedive. Things are going down south in many ways," Chamisa told the SA public broadcaster further.

He also said he would use his visit to South Africa to implore President Cyril Ramaphosa to take decisive action on the Zimbabwean crisis, which he warned could engulf the whole region.

"We now have fresh evidence after the Constitutional Court determination of the dispute between us and … Mnangagwa, particularly in the Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) report that was tabled in Parliament, wherein the commission is indicating that they flouted the law and the procedures of elections in announcing the elections of 2018.

"That evidence has to be at the doorstep of Sadc, the African Union (AU) and of course … President Ramaphosa to show and validate the fact that indeed elections in Zimbabwe were rigged and stolen.

"We will not be able to have a credible 2023 election until we … resolve the … disputed election so that we prevent future disputes," Chamisa said.

"We don't want to have a recycling of the same old problems. This is a vicious cycle that has to be curbed so that we will have credible elections," he said further.

This comes as Zimbabwe is in the grip of a huge economic crisis which has stirred anger and restlessness among long-suffering ordinary people.

Previously, both Mnangagwa and Chamisa have said that they are interested in dialogue, although nothing concrete has developed despite those encouraging statements.
On his part, Mnangagwa has remained resolute in his demands that any talks with Chamisa should be held under the platform of the political actors' dialogue (Polad) — where he regularly holds meetings with leaders of fringe opposition parties, who a large cross-section of Zimbabweans has dismissed as tokens, particularly as the youthful MDC boss is not part of this structure.

Chamisa himself has repeatedly ruled out joining Polad — demanding instead direct dialogue with Mnangagwa.

In 2009, Mugabe was forced into forming a government of national unity (GNU) with Tsvangirai after the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.

Tsvangirai was widely believed to have beaten Mugabe hands down in those polls.

However, the results of the elections were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities — amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later confirmed by former bigwigs of the ruling Zanu-PF.

In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu-PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai's supporters were killed — forcing the former prime minister in the inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.

In the meantime, to add to the country's woes, Zimbabwe is experiencing acute shortages of the staple maize-meal, amid massive hunger which has affected more than 8,5 million people.

Source - dailynews

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