The Sunday News
Nelson Muchemwa in Buhera
AN increasingly flippant MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday desperately reached out to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by calling for dialogue between his beleagured party and Zanu-PF.
He said the opposition party, which is currently in the throes of internecine power struggles ahead of its congress this month, will try to rope in regional countries to facilitate the envisaged talks. Chamisa’s overtures — made at the memorial service of the late MDC president and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at Humanikwa Village in Buhera, Manicaland, yesterday — come barely three days after he threatened to roll out protests, which have often been turning violent.
“We do not want to remove Zanu-PF by force, but for our agenda to move forward (as a country), there has to be political dialogue. Dialogue between Zanu-PF and the MDC, dialogue between President Mnangagwa and us. After congress, I am going around Sadc lobbying for the regional bloc to come and assist us and work with us,” he said.
The MDC-Alliance has been snubbing the national political parties’ dialogue initiated by President Mnangagwa with 18 other opposition parties that contested in last year’s general elections. However, for the first time since the 30 July harmonised elections, Chamisa acknowledged President Mnangagwa and thanked him for extending support towards the memorial service.
“Whenever something good has been done, we have to acknowledge. If you accept me as a leader you listen to me, allow me to thank the presence of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who are maintaining order here . . . I differ with (President) Mnangagwa in a lot of things, but when good things have been done, we should acknowledge,” he said.
The memorial, which degenerated into a political rally of the opposition party, also brought to the fore current tensions within the fractious party.
The party’s high-ranking officials, vice-president Engineer Elias Mudzuri and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, were sidelined, with the latter seated at the back row. Speaking at the same event, Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java — daughter to the late politician and Glen View South Member of Parliament — described her father as a unifier. She also thanked Government for supporting her late father’s memorial.
“Our father was a unifier who managed to bring all Zimbabweans together. This memorial is important to us as we celebrate his life. It helps in bringing closure to the sad chapter of losing him. I reiterate the call in thanking Government for the logistical and material support they rendered during this memorial, we are very appreciative of that,” she said.
Mr Tsvangirai succumbed colon cancer in February 2018 and was buried at his rural home.