THE ruling Zanu PF says Nelson Chamisa, pictured, and the MDC Alliance “made their bed and must now lie in it” — after they allegedly “repeatedly spurned the hand of friendship” extended to them by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, tough-talking Zanu PF national political commissar, Victor Matemadanda, also accused Chamisa of over-estimating himself and suffering a “lack of wisdom” — adding that this was the MDC Alliance leader’s “biggest undoing”.
“Chamisa’s lack of wisdom is his biggest undoing. You need to understand that you cannot hold the people at ransom for a long time.
“We have had people with support, but when you don’t work with others, they will dump you. This is what has happened with him,” he said.
This comes as hopes have once again been raised that Zimbabwe’s much-talked about national dialogue could finally start in earnest this year, following recent hints to this effect by both Mnangagwa and the country’s new opposition leader, Douglas Mwonzora.
Matemadanda said it was to Mnangagwa’s credit that since the dramatic fall from power in November 2017 of the late former president Robert Mugabe, the Zanu PF leader had been extending a hand of friendship to all his political rivals — as part of efforts to promote peace and unity in the country.
“Obviously, the approach of our current president was and remains engagement. Many of the opposition parties were formed during the Mugabe era, where there were no engagement platforms.
“President Mnangagwa invited all parties to Polad (the Political Actors Dialogue) and the MDC Alliance decided not to join.
“He (Chamisa) made a serious mistake by refusing to join Polad. What will happen is that (first MDC deputy president Thokozani) Khupe and others become relevant because they are part of what will be going on while he continues to cry from outside.
“He now has nowhere to take his problems to as an opposition party,” Matemadanda added.
Polad is a platform where Mnangagwa has regularly held meetings with leaders of fringe opposition parties who contested him in the 2018 elections.
Chamisa has studiously refused to recognise the platform, insisting instead that any dialogue in the country should be between himself and Mnangagwa — leading to his “exile” from the talks that happen there.
Matemadanda further claimed in the interview with the Daily News yesterday that Chamisa’s refusal to recognise Polad had allegedly exposed him as being “politically immature”.
“Personally, I respect Khupe for many reasons, especially after the treatment she got at (the MDC’s founding leader Morgan) Tsvangirai’s funeral.
“She is steadfast and principled, and refused to join Chamisa after he grabbed power unconstitutionally.
“She said this is simply unconstitutional and I cannot follow that … I want to remain relevant in politics, and so I am going to take away what belongs to me. That was a bold decision,” Matemadanda added.
“The likes of Mwonzora and (MDC national chairperson Morgen) Komichi, I also respect them for trying to be constitutional.
“Tsvangirai made a mistake when he appointed two vice presidents, and when the time came to correct that, the two took advantage.
“I am not sure how much they managed at their congress, but I hear that Khupe and Komichi have accepted the results and that is a sign of maturity,” Matemadanda also told the Daily News.
This comes as former opposition kingpin and Cabinet minister in the stability-inducing but short-lived 2009 government of national unity (GNU), Obert Gutu, has praised Mwonzora for pursuing a different type of politics after becoming the country’s new opposition leader in December last year.
“His (Mwonzora’s) call for the adoption of a progressive brand of politics, underpinned by robust but respectful and fruitful engagement with the government of the day should actually be applauded by all patriotic Zimbabweans.
“Where has the politics of hostile engagement taken us this far? Absolutely nowhere.
“Mwonzora should promptly engage the ruling Zanu PF and seek to positively influence and impact on national development,” Gutu, who is a former vice president of the MDC, told the Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News On Sunday at the weekend.
“Mwonzora should not wait to take his seat at Polad … from there, he can then seek to hold the ruling party to account and even put on the table his proposals for a GNU of sorts.
“Mwonzora is his own man. Those who accuse him of being a Zanu PF proxy are people who have always played a negative brand of politics.
“These are people who believe that insulting … Mnangagwa and calling him a dictator will somehow get them to State House,” Gutu added.
This follows Mwonzora’s promise last month to pursue “a new type of politics” that will see him seeking heightened interactions with both the ruling Zanu PF and other opposition forces.
The respected Harare lawyer and senator has since reiterated that he will, indeed, pursue dialogue with Mnangagwa and Zanu PF — with a view to improving the lives of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
Upon being elected as the new MDC president, Mwonzora exclusively told the Daily News that he would seek to have more interactions with Mnangagwa and Zanu PF, as he sought to end the “politics of hate and division”.
Meanwhile, and in remarks that have raised hopes for a cessation in hostilities between Zanu PF and the opposition, Mnangagwa has also warmly welcomed Mwonzora’s political pronouncements.
“This is a very welcome move for our nation which is likely to put politics of rancour behind us, thus triggering collaboration, development and the harmony we sorely needed for national progress.
“Once the pledge and positive shift extended by the opposition happens, a new chapter will indeed begin, paving the way for consensual politics, greater unity, peace, harmony and accelerated development.
“We appeal to all those still stuck to yesterday’s politics of destructive confrontation and obstruction to learn from this salutary gesture by the MDC … To be in opposition need not mean being unduly negative, confrontational, divisive and disloyal to one’s nation and people,” Mnangagwa said while welcoming Mwonzora’s pledge.
Many Zimbabweans have also said that they would like to have another GNU, similar to the 2009 arrangement which brought stability to the nation, after the economy had been ravaged by hyper-inflation in the wake of debilitating political madness in the country.