There was outrage today when the United States embassy in Harare announced that it met members of the Political Actors Dialogue, a grouping of smaller opposition parties that was formed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to try to resolve the country’s problems.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa has refused to join POLAD insisting that it alone must hold direct talks with the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
It also insists that Chamisa won the 2018 presidential elections but was robbed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which announced Mnangagwa the winner.
It therefore does not recognize Mnangagwa as President and would prefer an external mediator to convene the talks.
Chamisa, however, lost the election challenge at the Constitutional Court.
Although the United States has all along appeared to be sympathetic to Chamisa, it came as shock today when the embassy tweeted: “We met with POLAD members yesterday and look forward to continuing engagement on issues of development, good governance, and economic stability for Zimbabwe.”
The embassy did not say how many opposition leaders it met, but the message was a signal that more meetings are likely to be held.
Zimbabwe’s biggest challenge at the moment is the economy with inflation put at more than 500 percent, the local currency plummeting against the United States dollar from 2.5:1 a year ago to 17.29:1 on the interbank rate and 24:1 on the black market.
POLAD was the brainchild of Mnangagwa and its engagement with the United States could be a major diplomatic coup for Mnangagwa.
An online publication, Zimeye, queried: “Can you explain this serious contradiction- Polad does not even exist in the constitution of Zimbabwe, how do you discuss Zim national development issues with an illegal club formed out of one of the worst crimes of humanity in 2018? Have US embassy staff been bribed by ED?”
Francis Gidiri asked: “Who are these people representing? Do you know that all of them combined did not get 1% of the votes?”
Although the less than 1 percent statement was echoed by several others, it is not factually correct.
Mnangagwa got 50.67% of the vote while Chamisa polled 44.39%, leaving 4.94% to the smaller opposition leaders.
Although some of the opposition parties are not members of POLAD, Thokozani Khupe of MDC-T and Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly alone polled 1 percent of the vote, with Khupe getting 0.94% and Madhuku 0.06%.
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