Zanu-PF confirms meeting MDC officials at party headquarters

Obert Mpofu: "We are always ready. My principal, President Mnangagwa, is ready to engage and there is Polad for that."

The ruling Zanu-PF party has confirmed that officials from the opposition MDC led by Nelson Chamisa visited the ruling party headquarters last week to pitch for talks leading to addressing the challenges facing the nation.

“Yes, I can confirm that we received MDC-A officials at Zanu-PF headquarters last week,” said Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu.

“They said they have been sent by their principal, MDC leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, to engage the ruling party Zanu-PF so that they can come to the negotiating table to address the challenges facing the country.

“We told them that if they are serious about engaging us, they should do so formally, but they should come through the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD).

” If they want dialogue they should indicate some seriousness and if they want to engage President Mnangagwa they can only do that under the auspices of Polad,” Mpofu told State-owned media in an interview.

He however refused to divulge the names of the opposition officials, but said President Emmerson Mnangagwa was always ready to engage.

“I cannot give you the names right now. They visited my office as individuals and I don’t even know what positions they hold in the MDC-A.

“The fact that they have been calling and coming, albeit at the lower levels, shows that something is happening from their side. We are always ready. My principal, President Mnangagwa, is ready to engage and there is polad for that.”

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Mpofu said his party was always ready to engage the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, but they should not expect any special or preferential treatment and must negotiate just like the rest of the opposition leaders under Polad.

“The President is a major player in polad so they can engage him there and say yes we are joining this dialogue, but we have these specific issues that we want to deal with you directly not the manner they are going about it.

“They seem to have other ideas on the approach. On the face of it, they seem keen to engage, but on their terms, but the President said dialogue should be unconditional.

“There is already a facility for that kind of approach which is polad, where all parties have a platform to say what they would want to say. Not really to abandon this institution to engage in bilateral talks.

“The other parties might think we are betraying the understanding that we have come to build with them. So, if they have serious concerns on their part in the handling of the dialogue issues they should raise them there; that’s where they will see the President and talk to him,” Mpofu explained. 

When asked if the opposition officials had left any position papers or documents for Zanu-PF to consider, Mpofu said they unfortunately did not.

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“They did not submit any written documents. They have not produced anything written, but they have been producing membership cards, but that is not the way we should engage each other. This is a national dialogue initiative.

“There has never been any formal communication between them and us on what their demands or conditions are in their handling of this case. We need to be engaged officially by senior people from their executive members.”

Chamisa insists that he won the 2018 election and was robbed of his victory by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, even though he failed to provide evidence and lost the case at the Constitutional Court.

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