African Press Association

Warring Zimbabwe parties dismiss possibilities of unity

from DANAI MWARUMBA and MERCY MUJURU in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – ZIMBABWE’S rival political parties have ruled out a possible government of national unity (GNU) following a deadlock on the outcome of recently-held general elections.

The stalemate worsened last Friday when the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance filed court papers challenging the announcement of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the president.

Mnangagwa’s inauguration set for Sunday (yesterday) was subsequently suspended, embarrassing regional leaders who had confirmed their attendance, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also chairman
for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc.

Longtime rivals, MDC Alliance and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), have been at loggerheads since the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced Mnangagwa as the winner of
the presidential poll.

Mnangagwa clinched a total 50,8 percent votes against Chamisa’s 44,3 percent. ZANU-PF won a two thirds majority of 145 parliamentary seats against MDC-Alliance’s 63.

Both parties have aggravated the standoff by ruling out a government of national unity claiming their victories were enough to enabled them to form a government of their own.

Morgan Komichi, MDC-Alliance chairman, said his party would not be forced into an inclusive government with ZANU-PF, accusing the ruling party of electoral fraud in cahoots with ZEC.

“We don’t want people to abuse their power, to abuse the guns to rig elections in order to force a unity government of national unity,” Komichi said.

“Let the GNU (government of national unity) come out of free and fair elections. Let it come out of a voluntary process where the winner should lead the GNU,” he added.

Paul Mangwana, ZANU-PF secretary for legal affairs, slammed the court challenge by MDC Alliance as null and void.

“We are confident of winning this case because the matters raised are political rather than legal,” Mangwana said.

Chamisa and Mnangagwa have also been involved in tense exchanges on social media.

A government of national unity was initially formed in 1987 between ZANU and the rival Zimbabwe African National People’s Union (ZAPU) after post-independence civil strife to become ZANU-PF.

ZANU-PF was then forced into a power sharing deal with the MDC following controversial elections in 2008.

This followed opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated Robert Mugabe in the presidential poll. ZANU-PF lost its majority in the National Assembly.

But retained influence while MDC was relegated to less significant positions.

The unity government helped resuscitate the economy, which has again collapsed in recent years.
– CAJ News