The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is open to talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change but this should not be about a government of national unity, Vice-President Kembo Mohadi said.
He said it was also crucial for the opposition to recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the President and Head of State.
“We want them to recognise that he is the President of Zimbabwe. They can treat him differently as the leader of ZANU-PF, but not when it comes to the country and we will not allow that,” he told the Herald.
Mohadi the third most senior person in ZANU-PF dismissed reports that the two parties were talking indirectly.
“We haven’t heard anything of that sort or an approach from those that would want a Government of National Unity with us,” Mohadi said.
“But if they want to discuss with us they can come, but certainly not on a GNU because we have got the mandate emanating from the two thirds majority in Parliament. We can do it alone unlike in 2008 where we had a sort of hung Parliament. This time there isn’t going to be that kind of arrangement.
“We want unity, which is one of our mandates to get the people of Zimbabwe together and speak with one voice, work and progress together and this is important. In fact, we want them (opposition parties) to be part of Zimbabwe. We don’t want them to be left out.
“You might have heard what happened in Parliament recently when the opposition MPs did not want to recognise the President and they did not even want to stand up for him. We want all this to be a thing of the past because he is the President of Zimbabwe, not of ZANU-PF, when it comes to government. He is a President of everyone. Even his enemies must recognise that he is their President too.”
ZANU-PF is under pressure to negotiate with the opposition because of the pressing economic problems as the opposition claims it has the solution and seems to have the backing of some Western countries especially the United States.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs Matthew Harrington last week said one of the conditions for Washington to review its stance against Zimbabwe was the dropping of charges against opposition leader Tendai Biti, now MDC deputy chairperson.
Zimbabwe said it would not bend its laws to accommodate such US demands.