Douglas Mwonzora, who is the interim MDC-T secretary general, says he is ready to work with both Emmerson Mnangagwa and his former ally, Nelson Chamisa, to help with shapping Zimbabwe’s future and end it’s decades of suffering.
Launching his presidential bid for the country’s main opposition party at the weekend, Mwonzora also said if he wins the MDC presidency during next month’s extra-ordinary congress, he would work hard to end Zimbabwe’s deep-seated polarisation.
This comes as Thokozani Khupe’s interim MDC leadership has said that it is willing to form another government of national unity (GNU) with Zanu-PF to extricate the country from its long-standing political and economic crises.
It also follows a recent warning by another MDC bigwig and presidential aspirant, Elias Mudzuri, that the current divisions devouring the main opposition are making it difficult for the party to engage with Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF meaningfully.
“Our belief and commitment to dialogue is total. We believe that dialogue should be genuine, inclusive and unconditional.
“We will, therefore, pursue dialogue as the principal means of resolving the national question.
“We are prepared to play our part in the social and economic development of the country. We will play our part in ensuring that there is love, peace and harmony in the country,” Mwonzora said as he pitched
“To that end, we will work hard to change the politics of Zimbabwe. We are going to do away with the politics of hate, rancour and acrimony, as well as intolerance – and substitute all that with the politics of rational disputation and tolerance.
“Chamisa is not my enemy. Chalton Hwende is not my enemy. Welshman Ncube is not my enemy. Mnangagwa is not my enemy. My enemy is poverty, joblessness.
“Our party, therefore, needs a new leadership with proven skills to negotiate and dialogue with political opponents,” Mwonzora said further.
The respected lawyer-turned politician is one of four candidates who have been nominated by the party’s national council to contest in the congress that was ordered by the Supreme Court in March to elect the substantive successor to the MDC’s late founding president Morgan Tsvangirai.
The other candidates are Khupe, national chairperson Morgen Komichi and Mudzuri. Recently, Mwonzora and the rest of the MDC’s Khupe-led interim leadership said they were willing to form anothe GNU with Zanu-PF.
Mwonzora also hinted that the MDC had already put in motion plans to hold talks with Zanu-PF, with regards to the mooted unity government.
“As the MDC, ever since we were formed (in 1999), we have always been for dialogue. We think that Zimbabwe’s problems can be resolved through dialogue.
“The problems of this country cannot be resolved through confrontation, acrimony, rancour and violence.
“So, yes, when the time comes, when the internal process is done and when our consultations are completed, you will see us calling for dialogue,” Mwonzora told the Daily News recently.
“There is enough historic evidence in this country to show that most of the problems and big issues are resolved through dialogue.
“The liberation war ended with dialogue. The Gukurahundi in Matabeleland ended when Zapu and Zanu signed the Unity Accord.
“In 2008, after Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai, we engaged in dialogue to resolve that national question. “We will always be for dialogue, but internal process will have to be done first,” Mwonzora further told the Daily News.
Then, Khupe had also appeared to give a hint about the mooted talks when she said she was ready to engage in dialogue with Mnangagwa “to improve the livelihoods of 14,6 million Zimbabweans”.
In 2009, the late former president Robert Mugabe was forced into forming a GNU with Tsvangirai, after the hotly disputed 2008 polls. The short-lived GNU was subsequently credited with stabilising the country’s economy, which had imploded in the runup to those elections.
However, Mudzuri has said it would be futile to think of dialogue or a GNU without healing the divisions that are rocking the MDC. In a recent interview with the Daily News, Mudzuri asserted that it was imperative that Khupe and Chamisa heal their rift first, before the opposition could gainfully seek to engage ED and Zanu-PF.
“As senior leaders in the MDC, we need to sit down and talk. Everyone must accept his or her weaknesses, and we must tell each other the truth.
“Unity is the best way forward … we cannot continue fighting like this. We are one family, we worked together for 20 years and it’s easy for us to work together again. In Shona they say mukanetsana siyai peukama.
“Building unity is a process and it’s not a one day thing. I think before 2023 we will talk together and find common ground,” Mudzuri told the Daily News.
“We need to understand each other because we cannot engage Zanu-PF while we are failing to unite as MDC.
“So, there is a need to talk to each other before we engage Zanu-PF. At the moment the opposition is divided. So, Zanu-PF will take advantage of that.
“We must be able to talk to Zanu-PF because we are all Zimbabweans and we must build this country together.
“Factionalism must end so that we work to build our party. As Zimbabweans, we must work to build strong government institutions,” Mudzuri further told the Daily News.
This comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been engaged in a vicious and futile fight for control of the MDC party. The fight started after the much-loved Tsvangirai died from cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day in 2018. The power struggles intensified following a recent Supreme Court ruling which upheld last year’s High Court judgment that nullified Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC.
Chamisa, still adamant, remained with the other faction of the MDC as their President.