LEADERS of the MDC Alliance yesterday handed in a petition to Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, demanding immediate national dialogue to resolve the country’s political and economic problems, after marching through the capital.
Kuda Chideme/Tinashe Kairiza
The march was the first since the dreadful August 1 demonstrations which saw the army indiscriminately opening fire on civilians, resulting in six people being killed.
The army opened fire after some disgruntled people took to the streets to protest the slow release of results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. They were also protesting the alleged rigging of the elections.
MDC Alliance leaders insisted in their petition that the election was stolen despite a constitutional court ruling which stated that President Emmerson Mnangagwa defeated the Alliance’s candidate Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa this week appeared before a commission of inquiry into the August 1 killings chaired by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe. He insisted that only dialogue would resolve the country’s deteriorating economic and political crisis. After presenting the petition, which was also addressed to Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chairperson and Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, as well as the African Union (AU) chairperson and Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Chamisa demanded that Sadc and AU broker dialogue to resolve Zimbabwe’s political and economic impasse.
“Exercising our right to petition and to lawful peaceful and constitutional right protected under section 59 of the Constitution we make the following demand.
“An immediate return to legitimacy and resolution of the crisis of legitimacy in Zimbabwe. Immediate national dialogue amongst all key stakeholders to discuss, and resolve the following additional key issues: political and institutional reforms that include constitutional reform, electoral reforms,” part of the petition, among a raft of other demands, read.
The MDC leadership also demanded the immediate demonetisation of the bond currency, which government insists is equivalent to the United States dollar.
“Pending dialogue and discussion above, we demand the following measures to be taken immediately.
“The immediate scrapping of the bond note. . . The immediate scrapping of measure to levy duty on certain imports in USD (United States dollars),” the petition reads.
Prior to Chamisa’s address to the crowd of demonstrators who had gathered in the square, MDC vice-president Elias Mudzuri, who is reportedly angling to replace the youthful leader, was booed by party supporters when he stepped onto the podium. He hurriedly left the gathering, as the MDC leadership dispute ahead of the party’s elective congress next year escalated to tipping point.
Earlier this week, Chamisa told the commission of inquiry that his hands were “clean”, while insisting that Mnangagwa should be open to dialogue with the opposition to set Zimbabwe’s economy on a firm recovery and growth trajectory.