President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described his political arch-rival and opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa as a “rebel”, just like the biblical Satan who could not co-exist with God in heaven.
Addressing journalists at the closing ceremony of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission Summit attended by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said his Zanu PF administration would not be pushed around by the opposition leader because he had already begun talks with “patriotic opposition parties”.
“We will not be swayed by negative forces because even the Lord upstairs was not able to keep his house in order; he had Satan. These things happen. He still remains there,” Mnangagwa said.
Chamisa and five other opposition party leaders have stayed away from the Mnangagwa-initiated national dialogue, arguing that the process was flawed.
The MDC leader has, instead, challenged Mnangagwa to swallow his pride and start “real talks” with him to resolve the country’s crisis.
But Mnangagwa, who won the disputed 2018 election by a slim margin, said Chamisa could “go hang”, since he was already talking to those who were willing and patriotic to Zimbabwe’s cause.
“However, in a democracy, it is not a crime to move away from progress by those who are not willing to come to the table with the rest of the parties and organisations in the country who are determined to work for the way forward of our country, to better the lives of our people. We cannot compel everybody to come to the table,” he said.
Mnangagwa said it was Chamisa’s democratic right to walk away “from progress”.
“But those who have the need and desire and who are patriotic to their country will always come together and contribute to the constructive ideas, to move forward. As a result of this endeavour, I have created the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), which puts together the top brains of our people in Zimbabwe as well as top brains outside Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Zanu PF leader said from his PAC and the on-going dialogue, he was expecting to get the much-needed global acceptance for a better Zimbabwe.
“We need to leapfrog in terms of development to catch up with other developing countries,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Chamisa yesterday referred questions to his spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda.
“Talk to my spokesperson, I don’t want to be drawn into such issues,” he said.
Sibanda said Mnangagwa was “mischaracterising” Chamisa.
“I think the real Satan is the one who has blood in his hands, the blood of more than 20 000 people in Matabeleland, the blood of people in DRC [the Democratic Republic of Congo],” he said.
“But president Chamisa would not want to engage himself in this kind of politics. We hope that Mnangagwa will grow up one day and show maturity. He must be a Statesman and show maturity and not this kind of insults and demeaning statements. It is unfortunate.”