Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, said that the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC should be part of the ongoing dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other presidential candidates in last year’s election.
Speaking to South Africa’s national broadcaster, SABC, Mbeki backed Chamisa’s call for an external mediator and warned Mnangagwa that just winning a contested election is not enough. Said, Mbeki:
If you look for instance at Zimbabwe, the election outcome was also contested by the MDC. What President Mnangagwa has done, which I think is the correct thing, was then to say let’s all of us, all of these parties that contested the elections let’s get together and discuss the future of Zimbabwe.
The other parties I’m told they agreed but the MDC hasn’t, with the argument that is put forward by the MDC president Nelson Chamisa that they don’t recognise President Mnangagwa as legitimately elected (and) he can’t be the one that convenes it.
They (MDC) agree in principle to that get-together, but (say) let it be convened by somebody else. So, I’m saying that I hope that’s going to happen, it’s something that should happen.
Mbeki urged regional countries to encourage maximum unity and not glibly claim that since they won an election, then it becomes their right to rule. He added:
For us who are trying to develop our countries, you need maximum unity in order to address a number of national challenges. So it can’t be enough to say, ‘I won elections and that’s it’.
I’m saying an initiative such as has been taken in Zimbabwe is correct, and I hope Zimbabweans will indeed be able to come together including the MDC.
The MDC must be part of that process. It’s important that as a continent we deal with this matter in that way.
Mbeki is famous for bringing together former President Robert Mugabe and his then-rival Morgan Tsvangirai in a government of national unity (GNU) in 2009.
Though the process was completed by his successor, Kgalema Motlanthe, Mbeki presided of the signing of the All-inclusive Agreement at the Harare International Conference Centre which paved the way for the GNU.