Harare: Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has buckled under local, regional and international pressure to engage in talks with the opposition to solve the troubled southern African country’s multifaceted crisis.
Mnangagwa has been under the international spotlight, albeit for the wrong reasons, following the killing of civilians by soldiers on August 1, 2017 after the disputed elections, and in January last month during protests against a steep fuel price increase.
The former deputy President under former strongman Robert Mugabe, who had repeatedly shrugged off calls for dialogue, has invited the opposition for talks at State House, tomorrow (Wednesday).
“Our (MDC) President has been clear on the need for dialogue, and yes, now that we have received an invite to the meeting from the Office of the President and Cabinet, she will attend,” former Deputy Prime minister and MDC leader Thokozani Khupe said through her spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni said.
Losing presidential candidate Noah Manyika urged Mnangagwa to release political prisoners to ease tensions during and ahead of any talks.
“I don’t believe the President has created the right conditions for dialogue, something that is in his power to do. I will attend the meeting to hear if he is now prepared to do so and will only be prepared to join any continuing dialogue if this is clearly the case,” Manyika said.
The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa is still undecided over attending the meeting, party sources said amid reports that hardliners want to scuttle the talks.
Chamisa has refused to recognise Mnangagwa’s poll victory in the 2017 election that saw a record number of presidential aspirants in the country’s history. The Constitutional Court upheld Mnangagwa’s poll victory.