Opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday said his party was ready for dialogue with the ruling Zanu PF party to end the country’s deteriorating economic, social and political situation, but on condition the talks are anchored on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s unresolved legitimacy issue.
Addressing journalists at the party’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters in Harare, Chamisa said: “I am not a lie. I don’t want to acknowledge lies. I have said I will not recognise what is not recognisable.
“We are ready to talk, but we are going to talk about that issue (Mnangagwa’s legitimacy) as the first issue. It is a dialoguing point. Let’s agree on that issue. Why are you putting conditions? Why do you want Chamisa to acknowledge you? If you allege that you won the elections, why do you want the acknowledgement of an individual?”
Chamisa, who narrowly lost to Mnangagwa in the July 30, 2018 election results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, has refused to recognise the Zanu PF leader’s victory despite the ruling by the Constitutional Court upholding the results.
Several church and civil society organisations as well as Chapter 12 commissions have offered to provide a platform for the country’s two protagonists to talk over their differences and arrest the crisis.
The youthful opposition leader also called for unconditional release of all political prisoners and for soldiers to go back to the barracks following two weeks of unrest, which left 12 people dead and over 70 others nursing gunshot wounds after soldiers opened fire on civilians protesting sharp fuel price increases.
Chamisa, who distanced himself from the recent protests, said the opposition was compiling a dossier of atrocities and human rights abuses committed by security forces during the crackdown.
He said so far, they had recorded 844 human rights violations, 78 gunshot injuries and many arbitrary detentions.
“We are now escalating this matter to our regional bodies,” Chamisa said.
“In fact, our worry as I’m indicating this more, I have already indicated this to our Sadc leaders that we have a crisis situation in Zimbabwe, we have a humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, but I have not received any response.
“I don’t know how many people are supposed to be killed, I don’t know how much blood is supposed to flow on the streets of Harare before Sadc does something. I don’t know how many women should be raped before we begin to see the intervention of our regional bodies to try and help the situation.”
Chamisa also raised concern over the “clemency” extended to Zanu PF officials, including Harare youth chairman Godwin Gomwe, who was implicated in human rights violations in the recent demonstrations.
He said they held Mnangagwa responsible for the anarchy being witnessed in the country.
“This is now 14 months after Mr (Robert) Mugabe exited the political stage, but what we are seeing is actually an escalation, not only of the Mugabe type of terror, but we are witnessing something that will make Mugabe look like a baby in terms of terrorism,” Chamisa said.
“We have seen very serious and gory developments in the countryside and urban areas where there have been serious crimes against humanity, serious internal displacement of people and serious violations of fundamental freedoms as enshrined in our Constitution.”