Zanu PF bashes Chamisa, clerics… as the MDC boss warns ED that the window for talks is closing
© THE ruling Zanu PF yesterday came out guns blazing against the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) — threatening it with unspecified action for warning that the country is on the brink of an uprising unless President Emmerson Mnangagwa holds much-needed dialogue with the opposition, the Daily News reports.
At the same time, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, pictured, warned yesterday that he is coming under growing pressure from his supporters to take radical action in response to the country’s worsening political and economic crises.
All this comes as Zimbabwe’s deepening economic rot — the country’s worst in a decade — is agitating both long-suffering ordinary citizens and civil servants who are now planning to roll out mass protests later this month.
Zanu PF youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi accused the ZCC yesterday of working hand-in-glove with the opposition in alleged “nefarious activities, in order to subvert the will of the people”.
“As the vanguard of the party, we would like to draw a line in the sand and warn naysayers and misguided prophets of doom to stop forthwith inciting the people of Zimbabwe, otherwise they will face the full wrath of the people’s party,” he warned ominously.
Also describing Chamisa as a “dubious pastor”, Togarepi accused the opposition leader “and his hired pastors” of attempting to grab power from Mnangagwa using unorthodox means.
“Magnanimous in victory, President Mnangagwa invited Chamisa to dialogue but he refused. His seat is still there at the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad). He knows what to do and … the right path to take.
“Let not foolishness overtake his reason. There is nothing Chamisa will say today or on the 15th of January that will alter the direction that … president Mnangagwa has taken.
“We will not allow merchants of violence to succeed, we will deal with them appropriately,” Togarepi warned further.
“We have emerged from a rough and tough year, but just as diamonds are made under great pressure, so are the fruits that we are about to reap after years of decline, isolation and an era of pursuing populist policies.
“We are on the cusp of total economic transformation and development. We recorded a surplus in the last budget year and we believe that under our pragmatic leader we will continue in that positive trajectory,” the youth league boss said in defence of Mnangagwa and his policies.
Togarepi’s threats against the ZCC follow its secretary-general Kenneth Mtata’s warning on Monday that Zimbabwe could be on the brink of an uprising unless a truly national dialogue was held to stop the country from plunging into total chaos.
“Let this be a warning as we begin a new year that a nation that does not satisfactorily act on the cries of the vulnerable creates inevitable conditions for a revolution.
“Once its fires have been lit, no amount of ammunition can stop it,” Mtata had first said on Twitter.
He later told the Daily News that the desired national dialogue should involve the State and all the other key political actors in the country to find a sustainable solution to Zimbabwe’s escalating problems.
“There are three proffered solution models that can be thought of to help solve the challenges we are experiencing as a nation.
“The first is the maintenance model, which is about maintaining the current status quo until 2023.
“Then there is the revolution model which is about forcing a replacement of the current government with new leadership — and finally the consensus model, which is about mutual dialogue,” Mtata said.
The prominent cleric said he feared that Zimbabweans were now tilting towards the revolution model, which they believed would remove the root causes of the country’s problems.
However, he added, the Church still maintained that dialogue provided the best way to resolve the country’s economic crisis.
“I must admit that while people may want to remove the root causes of the problems we have in Zimbabwe, I am convinced that it is only a consensus model that can do that in a sustainable and less costly way.
“Those who preside over a revolution tend to be the most courageous, but not necessarily the most intelligent — and they then become the new oppressors.
“So while at face value a revolution promises a permanent solution, in reality it can give you what you didn’t bargain for,” Mtata said.
“Consensus is reached through dialogue, and hence requires an initial deposit of humility from the parties involved and demands an exchange of ideas, trust and confidence,” he said further.
Meanwhile, Chamisa warned yesterday that he was now having a difficult time holding back his impatient supporters — who were agitating for radical confrontation with the State due to Zimbabwe’s worsening political and economic crises.
“Everywhere I go people are saying president why are we wasting time in elections with pre-determined outcomes?
“Young people no longer want to hear of peaceful democratic change … If I come out and say ‘young people let us do what they are doing to us’ there will be pandemonium, but I am holding them back.
“There will be anarchy if I don’t stop them,” he told the Daily News in an interview.
However, he said, he was still expecting a “breakthrough of sorts” before the country’s next harmonised elections set for 2023.
“So, when we are talking about reforms, we are conscious of our obstacles. I share the people’s frustrations.
“However, when I say change is coming people doubt me. But I know what is happening internally and externally. We will not get to 2023,” Chamisa said further.
Mnangagwa and Chamisa have come under intense pressure all round to set aside their political differences and hold talks — as this is seen as the only sure way of extricating the country from the worsening local rot.
While Mnangagwa and Chamisa are increasingly talking about the mooted dialogue in public — they continue to disagree on which route to take on the matter, with the 77-year-old Zanu PF leader remaining resolute that any such talks will happen under the auspices of Polad.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki — who helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mnangagwa’s predecessor Robert Mugabe, who are both late — was in the country last month to persuade the Zanu PF leader and Chamisa to end their feuding.
He is expected back in the country anytime soon, to continue with his mediation efforts.