Calls for talks between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change have been getting louder by the day as the country’s economic continues to teeter on the brink of collapse.
Church leaders under the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations last week came up with a proposal for a seven-year moratorium during which the country should not hold any elections while it heals.
The ZHOCD is made up of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Evangelical Lutheran Federation and the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe.
The European Union with the help of the Zimbabwe Institute has also waded in. The United States has done the same thing and so have some members of Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe African Union-Patriotic Front including political maverick Joseph Chinotimba.
Everyone seems to be pushing for the talks as the panacea for Zimbabwe’s current problems.
While this may be true, what seems to be totally forgotten is that Mnangagwa and Chamisa lead divided houses, and some of their top lieutenants bare totally against any talks because they are benefitting from the current situation, though the majority of Zimbabweans are suffering.
Mnangagwa has to resolve any differences he has with the military which helped him to get into power. Even if they might be behind Mnangagwa they may not want to share the spoils because they have not yet reaped enough.
His biggest threat, however, remains the G40 element still within the party. It is largely this group that is believed to have been putting spanners into Mnangagwa’s stabilisation programme as they will lose out big time from any economic recovery that will benefit the majority.
This group may also be large enough to be able to impeach Mnangagwa if they team up with the MDC which has a third of the seats in Parliament.
Chamisa, on the other hand, will lose his support base if he joins Mnangagwa because he has repeatedly told his supporters, over the past 18 months, that he won the elections. Mnangagwa is illegitimate.
Joining Mnangagwa is therefore political suicide and is tantamount to “selling out”. He will enjoy the spoils until 2023 but that will be the end of his political career.
Chamisa has also surrounded himself with hounds who are just waiting for him to make a mistake so that they can take over.
They cannot challenge Chamisa openly because they don’t have support. Chamisa has the numbers but if he makes a mistake that is not popular with the support base they will quickly pounce in.
If Mnangagwa and Chamisa therefore go into talks before they clean up their houses, this might be a futile exercise that will not solve anything but might lead to splits within their organisations and thus get the country back to square one.
Besides, there seems to be too many outside players, who have their own interests which are definitely not those of Zimbabweans.