President Emmerson Mnangagwa, not once but twice, last week, ruled out forming a government of national unity (GNU) with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
On the other hand, Chamisa continues to push for dialogue which he says should not be mistaken as a clamour for another GNU.
Mnangagwa won the hotly-disputed plebiscite on July 30 and was duly sworn-in as president according to the laws of the country but his victory has not been widely accepted by most western countries, largely because of flaws noted by election observer groups and Chamisa’s insistence that there was electoral fraud.
And the deadly post-July 30 election violence in which at least six civilians were shot dead when the army joined police to quell disturbances in central Harare, has done a lot of harm to Mnangagwa’s quest to mend years of frosty relations with western governments.
The flaws which were noted in the elections and August 1 deaths largely explain why investors and western governments have cooled their interests in helping Mnangagwa’s government out of the current economic crisis.
In that context, it makes many critics of Mnangagwa’s government wonder how the 76-year-old and his administration will transform the hitherto near-comatose economy without outside support.
There is need for healing the deeply-divided country and dialogue with a hurting opposition which fails to understand that Zimbabwe is more important than its senior officials who continue to refuse a Mnangagwa’s victory yet its MPs are happy to be in Parliament — a product of the same election which Chamisa lost.
Similarly, Chamisa cannot keep talking about a National Transitional Authority (NTA) with him as its leader yet he lost to Mnangagwa. How do you set an NTA without running into conflict with the Constitution?
In any case, you don’t start a conversation by putting demands which bring conflict to the goal you intend to achieve.
It is clear both Mnangagwa and Chamisa are aware of problems confronting Zimbabwe and have ideas on how to extricate the country from its crises. When Mnangagwa ruled out a GNU, he was in the middle of the Zanu PF conference and it was the appropriate thing to do given the occasion.
Chamisa’s insistence on NTA and reforms strengthens him in the opposition ranks where his leadership is being repeatedly threatened.
Mnangagwa and Chamisa know their constituencies well but also the depths of Zimbabwe’s problems.
A GNU or inclusive government, they know both the costs and benefits. Daily News