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Zimbabwean main opposition rival Chamisa boycott national dialogue meeting

NEW YORK––Zimbabwe’s main political challenger and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has said he will not attend the meeting with the President and other candidates of the 2018 presidential election to discuss a framework for post-election dialogue.

Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa, through the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, on Tuesday invited all presidential candidates to the meeting scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon at State House.

While he wouldn’t been attending the ceremony, Chamisa, however, refuses to accept Mnangagwa as the duly elected President.

Chamisa posted on Twitter saying Wednesday morning that there was need for a credible convener to resolve the economic and political crisis bedeviling the country.

Fellow former candidate Noah Manyika of Build Zimbabwe Alliance said on Twitter Tuesday night that MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume had told him that Chamisa would not attend the meeting until certain conditions had been met.

The party also wants an international mediator to convene such a meeting, Manyika said, adding that he did not believe that Mnangagwa had created the right conditions for dialogue.

“He (Mafume) said that the MDCA considers any talks meaningless when people are in jail. The MDCA is also demanding that soldiers must go back into the barracks before any meaningful discussions can start,” he said.

Mafume had also said that political dialogue should be held by presidential candidates that got votes and not just a huge group of meeting with no constituents to speak on behalf of.

Many candidates failed to win meaningful votes during the election and are deemed to have little relevance in the proposed dialogue.

More than 700 people were arrested following violent demonstrations that rocked several parts of the country after Mnangagwa herald fuel price increases of more than 150 percent.

Formal figures put the number of dead people during skirmishes with the police and military at eight, although independent sources say at least 12 people died, one of them a policeman.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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