Mutsvangwa challenges Mnangagwa, Chamisa

Published: 14 October 2019
VOCAL war veterans chairperson and former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, pictured, has challenged opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to help President Emmerson Mnangagwa to resuscitate the country's comatose economy.

The forthright Mutsvangwa also implored the MDC leader and his lieutenants to "stop being perpetually in election mode" - as the country's worsening economy required a collective effort to turn it around.

Mutsvangwa was speaking in Harare on Thursday at a discussion forum on the role of the State in safeguarding human rights, that was convened by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) - publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.
"Why can't Nelson (Chamisa) and Mnangagwa say we can quarrel about our differences but let's get on a plane, go to London, Beijing, Washington and Tokyo and seek capital as Zimbabweans.

"Never in one day do they want to talk about that. I want to tell you that this economy does not wait for our quarrels ... we are continuing to slide into poverty," he said.

"We have brothers who quarrel the whole day, and then they burn the house at the end of the day as a spectacle for the village. And when the house is burnt, the villagers will go to sleep and they have nowhere to sleep.

"That's where we are today. We have to change the way we are doing things and realise that the sustenance of the economy is beyond party politics," the firebrand war veterans leader told the gathered audience.

Mutsvangwa said there were many examples of countries whose leaders had set aside their political differences with the opposition to focus on building their economies.

Chamisa has been quarrelling with Mnangagwa ever since the country held its national elections last year, whose result he claimed was manipulated in favour of the under pressure 77-year-old Zanu-PF leader.

Attempts to broker dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa have so far failed to yield fruit as the two rivals have remained locked in political brinkmanship.

Mnangagwa has established a dialogue platform with leaders of fringe parties who contested him in last year's polls, without Chamisa - a move that has further widened the differences between the two men.

However, there are growing calls - including from the church and the international community - for him and Chamisa to bury their differences and extricate the country from its deepening political and economic crises.

Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa also accused Chamisa and the MDC of remaining in election mode by continuing to question Mnangagwa's legitimacy - a year after the hotly-disputed polls, to the detriment of the country's economy.

"A football game has 90 minutes and if it's not over, there is 30 minutes of extra time. If there is still no winner then, you go for a penalty shoot-out, and then the game is over.

"We have a party (MDC) which wants the game to go on forever. We finished elections in 2018, and yet they want the country to be in election mode until 2023 so that the country can't be governed.

"In the meantime, precious national management time which should be used to address economic issues is given to quarrels," Mutsvangwa said further.

In response, MDC secretary for elections, Jacob Mafume, said his party was open to dialogue.

"My president (Chamisa) said he is open to dialogue and all these issues are outlined in our Reload (Road to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness And Democracy) document.

"Our congress resolved that the party must have a genuine dialogue and we are not going to join the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad)," he said, adding that this was a group of "jokers".

Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst economic crisis in a decade which has resulted in shortages of foreign currency, water, power and fuel amid myriad other challenges.

The haemorrhaging economy has stoked tensions among long-suffering Zimbabweans, with the opposition severely criticising Mnangagwa and his government for their stewardship of the country.

In response, the authorities have resorted to using disproportionate force, including deploying troops to break up demonstrations.
- dailynews
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