Polad’s Mteki tears into Chamisa over protests

…as opposition parties are divided over calls for civil unrest

By Kenneth Matimaire

Zimbabwe’s looming national protests have left opposition parties heavily divided as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s talk partners have jumped to his defense.

Mnangagwa’s talk partners under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), castigated the main opposition party, MDC Alliance’s call for national protests as an attempt to destabilise the country.

Polad encompasses 19 opposition political players locked in dialogue with the ruling party in an attempt to resolve Zimbabwe’s crisis.

Polad member and independent presidential candidate Bryn Taurai Mteki said protests will not make MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa winner of the previous disputed polls.

“I will go with (Emmerson) Mnangagwa on how we can address our national crisis. I support him 100 percent if not 1000 percent. Dialogue is the way forward. All political players and nationals have a role to play,” said Mteki also known as Sekurutau.

Dr Noah Manyika’s Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) and Professor Nkosana Moyo of Alliance for People’s Agenda (APA) pulled out of the talks while former Mnangagwa counterpart as vice presidents in ousted President Robert Mugabe’s government, Dr Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party (NPP) and MDC Alliance refused to be part of Polad.

Chamisa is pushing for the country’s biggest protests against Zanu PF’s misrule with defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri warning that the military will be up to the task, which points to a highly volatile encounter.

“Will protests make (Nelson) Chamisa a winner. The country’s problems cannot be resolved by protests. It won’t lower prices of commodities. I don’t believe in that rubbish. Chamisa just wants to cause mayhem. If he has the solutions to this country’s problems why hold on to them. He thinks because he garnered over 2 million votes he has become bigger than Zimbabwe and wants to throw his weight around.

“Zimbabwe requires selfless leadership and nationals. We need to come together and be part of the national dialogue that Mnangagwa called for. It’s actually a priviledge that he invited opposition parties. He could just have just done it alone, he won the election didn’t he? This is not about Mnangagwa, Chamisa or any political party but about Zimbabwe,” said Mteki.

He challenged MDC Alliance to relinquish their Parliamentary seats since they came through a contested poll result.

Another Polad member, MDC-T, a breakaway formation of MDC Alliance said its time Chamisa embrace mature politics of dialogue in the best interest of the country.

“I believe it is high time we come off age and mature in politics. For me the only game in town is dialogue, with dialogue you are able to sit around the table and raise issues affecting the people and at the same time proffering solutions,” said Khupe the MDC-T leader who has been beaten and arrested seven times for organizing mass protests.

Khupe said she has learnt from experience that violent protests will not resolve the country’s dire economic situation.

“Throwing stones, burning tyres and destroying shops will not address Zimbabwe’s economic problems. If there is anything, it results in those who are sent facing serious problems of arrests and yet those who send them are nowhere to be seen and they have never send their own children. So it is not fair at all. There are decent ways for dealing with our problems and this is through talking to each other,” she said.

Professor Lovemore Madhuku of National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) another key Polad member also said they are other better ways of addressing the economic crisis.

“We respect the views of others (MDC Alliance). We don’t condemn or criticize what others do. We hope it works but as NCA we believe in Polad. It is the only way forward to address the challenges faced by the country,” he said.

However, United Democratic Alliance (UDA), threw its weight behind mass protests against Mnangagwa’s new government.

UDA leader Dr Daniel Shumba said the selfish government must go, either by way of negotiations or by the people’s power.

“Accordingly, it is a natural course of action for people to rise up in the face of injustice. If you don’t provide the diapers, don’t blame the baby for messing the pants…Our people have not only the right but the responsibility to stand up – to rise up- and challenge the status quo. For without the bravery of men and women nothing will change,” said UDA leader Dr Daniel Shumba.

Transform Zimbabwe president, Jacob Ngarivhume believes protests are the only language the ruling party understands.

Ngarivhume has called for a hunger strike and peaceful protest at Parliament against Zanu PF.

BZA leader Manyika who pulled out of Polad said Zanu PF has run out of economic remedies as they are resorting to artificial reforms.

He said the ruling party should address the issue of corruption, cartels and revive industries in order to get the economy back in motion.

Polad members maintained that the dialogue will brew the much needed solutions to the country’s crisis without pre-empting remedies.