National Dialogue deadlock: Mnangagwa and Chamisa set conditions

National dialogue aimed at finding common ground between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF and the biggest opposition MDC Alliance is now dead in the water as the two political leaders have set tough conditions for talks.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Monday said he remains committed to working with Mnangagwa in ending a myriad of problems facing ordinary Zimbabweans but will not be railroaded into the talks.

This comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa said dialogue will continue even without Chamisa.

Mnangagwa warned that he will not be arm-twisted to the negotiating table by Chamisa saying the national dialogue will continue without him and will work with those interested in building the country.

Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters in Mwenezi during a meet the people rally, on Saturday Mnangagwa said he has called on all opposition political parties to engage in a national dialogue aimed at bridging their differences for national development but Chamisa has refused to attend.

Mnangagwa said that Chamisa is an attention seeker but people will soon see him for what he is.

“I called for a meeting with all the leaders of the political parties in the country so that we can discuss the future of our country because the election period is now behind us.

“I wanted us to come together and work for the betterment of our country giving them an opportunity to tell us where we make mistakes and we make amends. Chamisa then said if we meet as leaders who will be chairing the meeting because we are all on the same level.

However, on Monday while addressing the media after MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Tendai Biti was convicted for announcing that Chamisa won the elections held in July, Chamisa said the MDC Alliance had been emboldened by the conviction of the prominent lawyer.

Biti was convicted after a full trial for unofficially and falsely declaration results. He was fined $200 for the offence.

“What you are seeing are tell-tale sign of the end. This is the end,” Chamisa said.

“The center can no longer hold, Mr Mnangagwa’s  empire is crumbling like a deck of cards that’s why the desperation, they want to be at war with citizens and that shows that the end is nigh.”

Chamisa added that the environment was not conducive for a dialogue in whose output would benefit hard-pressed ordinary Zimbabweans.

“Well, we are not going to be pushed to a dialogue that is conditional upon terror tactics and Stone Age tactics. We won’t go into dialogue out of force.

“We go into dialogue on the conviction that we have to have progress as a country. We have answers they have the problems. People are suffering, people are jobless, challenges are increasing by the day. But for us to be able to do that we don’t want this persecution on our leaders.

“That will not move us.  If anything that will entrench our commitment in this struggle and we will not go backwards. So yes to dialogue, dialogue that is credible.

Turning to the outcome of Biti’s trial, Chamisa said the prominent lawyer had been prosecuted for “telling the truth.”

“…targeted for telling the truth about what happened on 31 July, we are aware of the targeting of our leaders across the country.

“Even Mugabe at his worst was not this radical. We never saw the attack and prosecution on human rights defenders—Mr Biti is not just a public officer, he is also a defender of human rights. So he is also being targeted in that regard.