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Chamisa climbs down on talks demands

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  • "We welcome dialogue even under a local convener, as long as ther eis truly a neutral convener in Zimbabwe. For us, both national and international mediation is welcome if the President (Mnangagwa) calls for national dialogue..."

MDC president Nelson Chamisa has made a climb down on his demands for a foreign mediator in his push for dialogue with President Mnangagwa, even as Zanu-PF insists that the only dialogue platform that it will entertain is under the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) initiated by President Mnangagwa.

Chamisa now says he will accept a “neutral” local, such as a respected church leader, the Daily News has reported, quoting internal sources in the top echelons of the opposition party.

“We welcome dialogue even under a local convener, as long as ther eis truly a neutral convener in Zimbabwe. For us, both national and international mediation is welcome if the President (Mnangagwa) calls for national dialogue… but this should go beyond POLAD because it is his initiative,” MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele is quoted by the publication.

Molokele adds: “The guiding principle is that we need to open up the dialogue. It should not be exclusive to politicians. Let us go beyond the POLAD.”

Last week, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Sibusiso Busi Moyo said the demand by Chamisa to have foreigners mediate in the dialogue process will not be entertained, adding that such demands were only being made by “stubborn” people who cannot accept that they lost last year’s elections.

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Speaking while addressing diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe at the annual diplomatic reception on Wednesday, Moyo said: “Some openly call for rolling out of mass action, even violent protests in order to oust a democratically-elected government.

“Some stubbornly refuse to accept the outcome of the 2018 election; refuse to lend themselves or their ideas to the national dialogue process initiated by the President.

“Some continue to call for sanctions and the diplomatic isolation of their own country, believing that only external mediation can heal the deep polarisation which continues to afflict our nation and our people.

“We believe that Zimbabweans must be allowed, encouraged and afforded the space to find one another, by themselves.

“Your excellences, you have an important role to play in this regard and we look to you to bring your undoubted influence to bear towards that objective.”

Moyo alleged there were elements within society who sought to exploit the collateral damage done by the current drought and natural challenges and by fair or foul means, they mobilise, encourage and provoke unrest across the country.

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