OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday appealed for dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stabilise the faltering economy, but the Zanu PF leader ruled out such a possibility, saying he does not work with “losers”.
Mnangagwa and Chamisa were the main contenders in the July 30 poll seen as key to pulling the impoverished southern African nation out of international isolation and launching economic recovery.
While the election was smooth, its aftermath revealed the deep polarisation in Zimbabwean society, with six people killed in an army crackdown on protestors two days after the poll.
“We had our peaceful and non-violent elections, and we won with a two-thirds majority,” a combative Mnangagwa told a meeting of his party’s central committee in Harare.
“If you think we will form a GNU (government of national unit), then you should be dreaming.
You have to wake up as soon as possible because it is a nightmare.
We will run thecountry for the next five years as provided for by the Constitution, and in the meantime, we are preoccupied with fixing the economy.”
While Zanu PF secured a two-thirds parliamentary majority, Mnangagwa won with a slim 51,6% of the vote, just enough to avoid a run-off against Chamisa, who won 44,3%, according to results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The opposition claimed the result was rigged, while most international observers noted that the election did not pass as free and fair.
In particular, the European Union Election Observer Mission said the results were not “verifiable” or “traceable”, casting doubt on their reliability and accuracy.
Since then, Zimbabwe’s economy has been in a tailspin, characterised by a worsening cash crisis and escalating shortages of some basic products and fuel.
Chamisa, speaking to journalists at a ground-breaking ceremony for a primary school to be constructed by the Harare City Council in Kuwadzana, in partnership with a private property developer, Naldine Trading, said talks would help steer the country out of its present state.
“We are not doing this for the love of power, but we are being pushed by the power of love.
What we are going through as a country is nothing if we are to have dialogue as a people, and I hope our colleagues in Zanu PF would find wisdom in this issue.
We have stated five things which we believe should be the cornerstone for dialogue,” Chamisa said.
“The problems we are seeing are all temporary, we can solve them within weeks, the issues of cash, the issue of queues and job creation, can be solved through dialogue and confidence-building as a State.
It is unfortunate that there is no talking, but we have talked about the need to talk.
But we have not seen any movement.
It takes two to tango and (Zanu PF) should show willingness,” Chamisa said.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches has tried to mediate between the two leaders, but hit a brickwall after Mnangagwa demanded that Chamisa recognises his poll victory as a precondition for the talks, while Chamisa maintained that his rival was “illegitimate.”
But Mnangagwa told some party officials that industry was on the way to revival despite challenges in foreign currency, and that his “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra was paying off.
“We will evaluate our performance and map the way forward,” Mnangagwa said.
“We will focus on what we should do to have clean (running) water; medicines in hospitals and have good roads.
That is what we now want to do, and that is why we now talk of the economy.
That is why we say Zanu PF must continuously transform and take on board new things and move with time.”
Mnangagwa admitted the country was facing challenges and promised that the party’s annual conference, which started on Monday in Esigodini, would deliberate and devise ways of dealing with the issues.