The Movement for Democratic Change says the dialogue that is currently taking place cannot continue until there is a preliminary meeting of the two key players Nelson Chamisa of the MDC and Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Mnangagwa and his party have, however, said he cannot meet Chamisa until the MDC leader first recognises him as the country’s President.
Chamisa has insisted since August last year that he won last year’s presidential elections so the country is going through an economic and political crisis because of Mnangagwa’s illegitimacy.
ZANU-PF blames the crisis on continued sanctions but Mnangagwa has said he will not use sanctions as an excuse but will forge ahead despite them.
The European Union this week eased sanctions on Zimbabwe at a time when the opposition and civic organisations expected the European body to stiffen them.
Mnangagwa has made in-roads with China and Russia, which have become two of the most powerful countries in the world.
The two have veto powers in the United Nations Security Council and have barred calls for international sanctions on Zimbabwe in the past.
The two have also become industrial giants with China becoming the second largest economy in the world but it has been the world’s wealthiest country in terms of purchasing power parity since 2016.
The MDC said it was committed to genuine dialogue which had to be convened by a credible, independent and mutually acceptable arbiter.
“Council restates that the dialogue process must be properly and independently guaranteed and that the conditions must be conducive to genuine dialogue,” the MDC said in a statement after its national council meeting today.
“Council notes that ZANU-PF has a history of battering people so as to frog-march and coerce them to meaningless dialogue platforms. To this end, Council calls for the immediate cessation of all forms of brutality and harassment of the people and the MDC leadership so as to create a proper environment for a genuine and durable national conversation to take place.
“Council notes the inter-party dialogue that is taking place through other spaces such as Parliament. Council takes the position that the dialogue cannot continue to take place before the preliminary meeting of the principals ie. President Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa.”
Church leaders say the national dialogue must include everyone for it to provide a lasting solution because previous dialogues have failed to do so because they were elitist.