Former Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara has trashed opposition MDC-Alliance’s talk of another “Government of National Unity” (GNU), saying President Mnangagwa is the legitimate leader of the country following last July’s elections.
Prof Mutambara said President Mnangagwa enjoyed the support of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU), leaving the opposition marooned in its quest to negotiate power after losing elections in which the ruling party got more than two-thirds majority of parliamentary representation.
Prof Mutambara slated the opposition for its lack of strategy and ridiculed it for planning to spend the next five years “crying about a stolen election”.
He said this in an interview with South African television station SABC News last week, during a review of his book, “The Path to Power — In Search for the Elusive Zimbabwe Dream”.
He said the conditions that created the previous GNU, where he was Deputy Prime Minister as the ruling Zanu-PF shared power with the MDC factions, had altered significantly in 2018.
“Number one, the opposition is not challenging Parliament, ZANU- PF controls two thirds majority in Parliament,” he explained.
“In our case, we the opposition controlled the majority and ZANU- PF were in the minority. Secondly, when we said Mugabe is illegitimate after the run-off we had the support of South Africa, SADC and the African Union. Unfortunately in this situation, where there is a challenge to the legitimacy by (President) Mnangagwa, the South Africans have endorsed Mnangagwa, SADC have endorsed Mnangagwa and the AU have endorsed Mnangagwa which makes it very difficult to operationalise the challenge to the legitimacy of Mnangagwa,” said Prof Mutambara.
He said the opposition’s case was weak because it was not challenging Zanu-PF’s two-thirds romp but just the Presidential result.
Further, the opposition’s claim to not recognise President Mnangagwa’s victory would complicate matters regarding the convening of any meeting for the “National Transitional Authority”, as MDC- Allaince alternatively calls it.
He said: “The opposition must understand that they have a harder case than we had in 2008, because they are on their own. South Africa, SADC and the AU have endorsed this regime which means it is a tougher situation than what was obtaining in 2008. For example, when you say you want a National Transitional Authority, who is going to call the meeting? How does Mnangagwa call the meeting when you don`t recognise him, as who?
“So you need South Africa, SADC or the AU to call a meeting which is harder because they as institutions have endorsed the election.
“What I am emphasising is that, let’s see more strategic thinking. You can’t spend five years talking about a stolen election. What is the opposition’s plan for the next five years? Let us see that plan. Let us see that SWOT analysis which is robust.” Prof Mutambara is not the first one to trash the opposition calls for a GNU.
At the weekend, Vice President Kembo Mohadi dismissed recent media reports claiming President Mnangagwa and MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa were indirectly in talks for a unity government.
He said Zanu-PF did not require a GNU as it had 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,” he said.