Respected University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, says it makes sense for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to engage MDC Alliance president Chamisa first in dialogue before talking to MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora.
Masunungure told the Daily News that while Mnangagwa may prefer Mwonzora as the official opposition leader, Chamisa’s popularity with opposition supporters cannot be ignored. Said Masunungure:
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For the sake of practicality, any meaningful dialogue ought to mean that Mnangagwa sits down with Chamisa, first and foremost, and then Mwonzora, to make it a tripartite negotiating forum.
These three are the key political players in that Chamisa is very popular and that Mnangagwa prefers to see Mwonzora as the official opposition leader.
Meanwhile, professor of World Politics at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, Stephen Chan, said the envisaged dialogue should be open and its conduct should be on equal terms. Said Chan:
… while the three leaders are talking, the government should not be harassing opposition supporters. In short, there has to be public and visible good faith when the tripartite negotiations happen.
The dialogue has to concern not just political issues, but economic ones as well. It will take a very long time for Zimbabwe to recover sufficient economic stability to act as a platform for multi-sector growth … to generate employment for the mass of Zimbabweans.
So, the talks have to be about the economic welfare of the mass of Zimbabweans who are the ones so often left out of the government’s plans and in the rhetoric of confrontational politics.
The comments follow reports claiming that Mwonzora, as well as a close ally of Chamisa, reiterated over the past few days that the MDC principals were happy to engage with Mnangagwa.