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Zimbabwe’s President Changes Tone on the Opposition

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe says opposition groups in the country have a role to play in the country’s development. This comes as South African President Thabo Mbeki is set to resume his mediation between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The talks are aimed at finding solutions to Zimbabwe’s political problems. Supporters of President Mugabe have hailed his pronouncement and have described it as a reconciliation gesture. But the opposition MDC has dismissed the president’s call.

Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for the MDC. From the capital, Harare he VOA that Mugabe’s statement is laughable.

“As far as we are concerned, any kind of understanding that the opposition is there to be the alternative and to form the next government if it’s given the mandate by the people is welcome. But the unfortunate thing with the so-called gesture of Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF are all shrouded and clothed in political machination to try and include and involve MDC in their shenanigans, in their deals and in their corrupt and elite benefits,” he said.

Chamisa said the president’s call should be dismissed.

“As far as we are concerned we see this as a political gimmick made to hoodwink people. So as far as we are concerned, we don’t seem to see some action which is quite married to the statement which is attributed to the President of the ZANU-PF, Robert Mugabe,” Chamisa pointed out.

He said President Mugabe’s “so-called” gesture should not be taken seriously.

“The President of the ZANU-PF party Robert Mugabe is known for speaking in fork tongues. In fact the fact that he says one thing doesn’t necessarily translate to what would be happening on the ground. He indicates left, but turns right. He is known for these kinds of contradictions. And we known that until we see some action to show that indeed there is a change on the ground it would be difficult for us to be convinced that indeed we are now moving in the right direction,” he said.

Chamisa said the opposition was eager to bring peace to the country.

“Our share of the bargain is to make sure that there is peace in this country for the past seven to eight years of our existence, and we will continue to make sure that there is peace,” Chamisa said.

He said the government’s action contradicts what it espouses, which Chamisa said does not encourage the ordinary Zimbabwean.

“What we are worried about is state sponsored terrorism, which has seen more than 300 activists belonging to the opposition perish in the hands of this regime. And which has also seen a lot of problems continue to compound, particularly abductions, human rights abuses, political prisoners, journalists being harassed… those problems are not good indicators and they don’t inspire confidence among Zimbabweans. And that remains our major source of worry,” he noted.