South Africa has urged Zimbabwe to seek mediators to facilitate meaningful dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition parties when the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Nelson Chamisa on Friday condemned the launch of the Forum for Political Actors in the country's capital, Harare.
The South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mphakama Mbete, called when he spoke to delegates attending the meeting, which included Mnangagwa, MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe and a number of other opposition party leaders and civil society representatives.
Mbete said, "… For credibility, the Zimbabwean leadership wants to consider a facilitator outside Zimbabwe. We as our region will be ready to propose the names of the African continent. At this point we want to attract political formation, to political leaders who are now part of political dialogue to join the national dialogue. "
Zimbabwe is currently facing an economic crisis stemming from a lack of foreign direct investment, capital constraints in reviving a collapsing industry, unpredictable financial systems, high investment risk factors and other problems.
The Mbete call was adopted by the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, who has criticized Mnangagwa's political dialogue with small opposition parties, which he said were seeking relevance in Zimbabwe after their poor performance in the 2018 general election.
MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume praised Mbete, saying the Zimbabwean president must hold direct talks with Chamisa facilitated by prominent people from outside Zimbabwe to overcome the current economic crisis.
"In any dialogue there are some people who are supposed to be mediators. Involving these small parties is a waste of time, it will not bring us because it will not resolve the current economic crisis in Zimbabwe. We were surprised that Mnangagwa wanted to continue this kind of dialogue to the point that people would start eating baboons while wallowing in poverty.
"The economic situation is bad in Zimbabwe and continues to deteriorate. Chamisa said he was ready to engage in meaningful dialogue mediated by someone from outside Zimbabwe so he would speak with Mnangagwa about advancing the country so that there are jobs and people can live a normal life."
Mnangagwa, which officially launched the Political Actors Dialogue Forum which aims to create harmony among all stakeholders in this country, cannot directly react to Mbete calls for external mediators.
He told the people who attended the meeting that unity was key in developing Zimbabwe. "Let us all come to the great tent of unity … Let us all come to this tent to spread love, peace and harmony as we develop our country …"
Speaking at the same meeting, Khupe urged Chamisa to embrace the Forum, saying that it would help in the transformation of Zimbabwe, which is currently ranked by several international organizations as one of the poorest countries in the world.
MDC still states that Chamisa defeated Mnangagwa in the last presidential election even though the Constitutional Court ruled that the president won the election.