MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa must recognise President Mnangagwa’s legitimacy to enable dialogue and allow Zimbabwe to move forward, veteran politician Eddie Cross has said.
Cross said that Chamisa had called seeking advice from him and wanted his assistance in setting up dialogue with President Mnangagwa.
“First thing; you have got to accept that he (Mnangagwa) won the 2018 election. End of conversation. If you don’t accept that the President is legitimate, that he won an election legitimately then you can’t have a conversation. No amount of external pressure is going to change that situation. That is something we are going to have to do among ourselves,” Cross said.
He said that Chamisa’s stance had not only cost the opposition leader but the whole country an opportunity to progress.
“I think that Chamisa has lost a huge opportunity because I think if he had accepted Emmerson’s victory in 2018 and accepted his role as leader of the opposition I think the president would have been much more accommodating. I think we would have seen the situation in Zimbabwe moving more or less along the lines of a consensual type government arrangement than what we have at the moment,” Cross said.
The Mnangagwa administration had proposed to establish an official position for the leader of the opposition in line with most Commonwealth countries but Chamisa dismissed the idea.
Cross gave the example of Hillary Clinton who conceded defeat on technicalities to Donald Trump in the United States despite commanding a lead of three million votes over her rival.
“If our opposition leadership had done that I think the last two years might have been significantly different,” Cross said adding that Chamisa had insisted on a precondition that the government accepts that it is not legitimate. He suggested that the opposition wanted a coalition government.
“Chamisa was saying was that if this government was legitimate, we are not talking about compromise or collaboration, we are talking about a coalition government.”
Cross was one of the opposition party’s founding members and one of its first officials to be elected into parliament.
Zimbabwe is currently in a logjam with the main political parties tussling over conditions of engaging in dialogue. President Mnangagwa insists that Chamisa joins the Political Parties Dialogue platform. Chamisa, however, is adamant that players in the POLAD platform were insignificant since they did not garner much votes to have influence on the Zimbabwean political landscape.