Nduduzo Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau
Government has dismissed as false, claims by MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa that President Mnangagwa was evading former South African President Mr Thabo Mbeki in an equally “fallacious” narrative that he wanted to facilitate political dialogue between Zanu PF and the opposition party.
Speaking at the Bulawayo Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Chamisa claimed that Mr Mbeki had told him that President Mnangagwa was neither taking nor returning his calls to talk about the “dialogue”. In an interview at the State House in Bulawayo yesterday, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said President Mnangagwa and Mr Mbeki actually met at the recent African Union Summit in Ethiopia.
“I don’t know what he was referring to. He is not a member of the Mbeki house as far as I know, or is he a member of the Mnangagwa household, so he wouldn’t know what goes on between the two of them,” said Mr Charamba.
“In reality, the two met briefly on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa and had a bit of a chat and I can assure you that the President of Zimbabwe, out of courtesy, updated the former President of South Africa on the developments in the country.”
Mr Charamba said the MDC-A’s wish for a Mr Mbeki-driven dialogue will not be realised as there already is the Political Actors Dialogue set up for engagement between political players in the country. “By the way, there is a misconception to say that President Mbeki came to Zimbabwe to mediate between MDC and Zanu PF,” he said. “That’s not true, it is actually a wish by the MDC which will not be realised.
“The President has made it clear that the only available platform for national political dialogue is the Political Actors Dialogue. Anyone or everyone interested in engaging Zanu PF or any other party will do so within the context of Polad and no other platform.”
Mr Charamba said Polad was not structured around size, imagined or real, but around the need to depoliticise the society, debate developmental issues for the country to move forward in harmony. “It is not about the electoral strength of respective parties, after all, let it not be forgotten that the offer for dialogue is actually voluntary. It is not a requirement of the Constitution, it is not a logical outcome of a winner takes all kind of electoral system,” he said. “It is really a wish on the part of the President to carry on board everyone who participated in the 2018 elections in the spirit of harmony and in the spirit of ensuring that all energies of the country are harnessed towards a common purpose.”