by Xolisani Ncube
Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who landed in Harare on Monday left the country Wednesday afternoon after a series of engagements with President Mnangagwa and his political rival Nelson Chamisa on how to solve the country’s crisis.
Mbeki said he would return to resume the talks after the Christmas holidays.
The former South African president has been mediating between Mnangagwa and Chamisa amid fears that the country was on the brink of collapse due to hyper-inflation and endemic corruption as well as gross mismanagement.
On Monday, Mbeki met Mnangagwa at State House were the two discussed the state of the economy, political stability or lack there-off and sanctions.
Mbeki then met Chamisa, whom according to sources, said he was ready to engage with his arch-rival, Mnangagwa, for a possible political settlement that is largely expected to country sail the country out of the current quagmire.
On Tuesday Mbeki met other political parties that include the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe, National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku before engaging church leaders.
He later met Chamisa in company of his deputy Welshman Ncube
“We have been talking to everybody and everybody is interested in discussing the situation and I am interested too in the situation here and basically to understand what is happening and to say to everybody that we support the efforts of the Zimbabweans in addressing the challenges.
“Whatever the challenges are, we have been listening to everyone, we haven’t finished the listening, we will be back to continue the process,” Mbeki said.
After playing a pivotal role in the 2008 talks between the late Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai that led to the formation of a government of national unity, Mbeki, according to sources, wants Chamisa and Mnangagwa to talk to each other and help solve the crisis.
The ex-ANC leader said he would be back just after Christmas to continue with the mediation efforts and has hope that a solution will be found.
“We want to give whatever support we can so that as I said many people in the country are saying we need to address many challenges that face this country, whether political or economic reforms that are needed to be addressed,” Mbeki said.
However, sources said among the sticking issues to a dialogue between the two main political actors was on the question of Mnangagwa’s legitimacy and how reforms are to be implemented to allow the democratization of the country.
Mbeki’s visit, which is a precursor to possible talks between Zanu-PF and the main opposition MDC party, has the blessings of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and the SADC region.
“Chamisa and Mnangagwa will soon be meeting. Mbeki has a target of ensuring that the two meet before year end. The idea is that the meeting (between ED and Chamisa) could be a new year’s gift for Zimbabweans.
“On Tuesday, a lot of ground work was covered and many obstacles that were hindering the process were removed. For now, we are left with a few issues such as who should supervise the entire process, the end result of the process who should guarantee that it will not be abused by either parties,” the sources said.
Zimbabwe is currently facing an economic crisis due to hyperinflation, high unemployment rate, critical shortages of cash and fuel, devastating drought and serious power outages
Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda said it was early for the opposition leader to comment as it was an on-going process.