Has Chamisa made an about-turn on talks?


“We want dialogue that is meaningful, where the political will to change for the benefit of Zimbabweans outweighs political expediency.

“Dialogue must deliver true change & real reforms. When we shake hands let us be agreeing to truly walk in the same direction, a new direction.

“Democracy can’t exist without a true commitment to happiness, freedom & peace. Our political impasse cannot continue.

“We stand firm on the principle that none but ourselves can bring about the true change we need. Real issues affecting us all must be at the heart of any dialogue.”

These were the words of Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa soon after holding talks with former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The immediate question was: Is Chamisa now willing to talk to Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Emmerson Mnangagwa? Under what conditions since he has insisted for more than a year now that he won the July 2018 elections?

Mnangagwa, or Garwe as he is often referred to, insists he is going by the constitution.  He won the elections and this was confirmed by the Constitutional Court after Chamisa went to the country’s highest court to challenge the election results.

The only thing that should have forced Mnangagwa to talk was the collapsing economy, but the threat seems to be fading away by the day.

Zimbabweans are now used to the fuel shortages, the power cuts and rising prices of basic goods. They still whine about how tough life is, but the threat of revolt seems to have faded away.

Mnangagwa’s lieutenants, most of whom are enjoying the gravy train, do not like him to talk to Chamisa for totally selfish reasons.

They are thriving from the chaos and will lose out if the situation returns to normal.

Chamisa’s lieutenants do not want him to talk to Mnangagwa either but for totally different reasons.

They are afraid they will lose out and have repeatedly told Chamisa not to talk to Mnangagwa saying this is political suicide and his supporters view it as selling out.

This apparently is the biggest threat to Chamisa’s political career. If he talks, he will lose his support base and can as well kiss goodbye to 2023. If he does not talk, his lieutenants who are already baying for his blood will take advantage by accusing him of holding the nation to ransom.

But Chamisa seems to have little choice. His refusal to accept a court ruling, no matter how unpalatable, seems to have out off some of his staunchiest Western supporters who insist that Zimbabwe should abide by the rule of law.

Whispers say they are now quietly backing one of his deputies, Tendai Biti, who continues to make noises now and again but may be quietly waiting for Chamisa to do himself out.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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