President Emmerson Mnangagwa proudly kicked off a Zimbabwean national dialogue process on Wednesday, amid the country’s ongoing political and economic crisis – but opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was among those staying away.
Mnangagwa said the dialogue launch marked the fulfillment of a pledge made at his inauguration to advance the cause of unity, and engage Chamisa and other presidential candidates in consultations.
“Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, and we all have a part to play towards the prosperity and well-being of our country and our people,” Mnangagwa said. “As the adage goes, individually we are just a drop, but together we are a mighty ocean. We thus have more to gain from unity than from individualism.”
Yet what Mnangagwa hailed as a milestone the political opposition dismissed, calling for real dialogue and not games.
“We’ve a political crisis arising out of a disputed and rigged presidential election result in Zimbabwe,” said Chamisa, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader. “The Presidency is disputed. We need genuine dialogue under a credible convener and mediator to solve this crisis.”
Chamisa then called for an end to Zimbabwe government abuses against its citizens, which have seen weeks of violent clashes and protests leading to fatalities and detentions. Teachers continued to strike on Wednesday, the latest group to protest against dire economic conditions of runaway inflation and price hikes in fuel, medicine and other critical goods.