Zimbabwe opposition now in a tight spot


Chamisa has up to now refused to talk to Mnangagwa arguing that the issue of Mnangagwa’s legitimacy must be resolved first. He claims he won the 2018 elections though he lost the case at the country’s highest court.

Though he continues to put up a brave face to his supporters,  former MDC policy coordinator Eddie Cross recently disclosed that Chamisa had approached him to seek advice on how he could engage with Mnangagwa.

Cross said he had simply told Chamisa that the first thing was to acknowledge Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

This would be a major climb-down for Chamisa after arguing for more than two years that Mnangagwa  is illegitimate but observers say Chamisa will have very little choice if religious organisations dump him.

Mnangagwa has repeatedly said that he welcomes dialogue at any time but it must be within the Political Actors Dialogue framework .

He also said he would not entertain any government of national unity or transitional authority because he won the elections.

He told Sky News in August 2018 that if former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson could form a government with a one seat majority why should he form a government of national unity when he has a two-thirds majority?

The question is, can the two finally come to the negotiating table? The answer is, Yes. The churches can force them to talk if they all speak with one voice, which is not the case at the moment, because unlike other players like civil society and Western governments, churches have people -Zimbabweans who vote.

Proponents of internal talks say they are a long lasting solution than those facilitated by foreigners.

Speaking at a prayer meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches last year United Nations representative to Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli  said: ““We would like to see this consensus building process to dialogue being nationally led and locally owned.  Experiences worldwide and indeed in Zimbabwe show that sustainable peace has a higher chance of lasting when it is nationally led and locally owned and everyone committed.”

Chamisa attended that prayer meeting.

That internal talks are longer lasting than foreign negotiated settlements is amply demonstrated by the fact that the unity accord of ZANU-PF and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union of 1987 still stands 33 years down the line while the government of national unity of 2008 negotiated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki crumbled in 2013.

Although one of the former senior ZAPU leaders Dumiso Dabengwa left ZANU-PF to revive ZAPU, none of the senior former ZAPU officials within the united ZANU-PF followed him.

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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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