President Emmerson Mnangagwa plans to amend Zimbabwe’s Constitution to recognise “official opposition” in a move critics say is meant to soothe MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, NewsDay can reveal.
Chamisa, who lost a petition challenging the results of the July 30 election at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), has maintained that he won the poll and that he has a legitimate claim to lead the southern African nation.
He frequently describes Mnangagwa as an “illegitimate” President after rejecting the court ruling that confirmed the Mnangagwa victory although last week he said he was open to talks “to resolve the question of legitimacy”.
Mnangagwa, currently attending the United Nations General Assembly, said during an interview with the US’s Bloomberg TV at the weekend that he was considering officially recognising his political nemeses as an opposition leader.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday said there would be need for a constitutional amendment to accommodate Chamisa once Mnangagwa and his arch-rival reach an agreement.
“It will need that (constitutional amendment) if there is a political agreement given the fact that he (Chamisa) is not an elected MP as things stand. The amendment will need to reflect the agreement, but that is up to the parties,” he said.
“The parties would need to negotiate and agree. Once that is in place, we will then have a look at the Constitution and see what needs to be done to accommodate the new set-up.”
While speaking during the interview in the US, Mnangagwa was quoted as having said: “Under our Commonwealth parliamentary democracy, the opposition is recognised; we recognise the leader of the opposition in Parliament. This is what we are going to do ourselves.”
The Zanu PF leader is seeking to rid the country of its long-held international pariah status gained under former President Robert Mugabe over alleged human rights abuses.
He is also trying to woo investors to kick-start an ailing economy that has been navigating turbulences since the turn of the century characterised by cash shortages and high unemployment.