Zimbabwe church leaders push to bring Mnangagwa, Chamisa ‘to the negotiating table’

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Zimbabwean churches are reportedly pushing to bring President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his rival Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to the negotiating table to resolve an ongoing political impasse following the country’s disputed polls in July.

Zimbabwe’s top court in August dismissed MDC’s bid to have presidential elections annulled over alleged rigging in favour of Mnangagwa.

In a unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Luke Malaba dismissed the application with costs after strongly criticizing the legal challenge, AFP reported.

Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zanu-PF party, won the election with 50.6% of the vote – just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC’s Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

According to Newsday, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) had already met with the MDC leader and were now waiting for him to sign some documents before moving ahead with their plans.

ZCC secretary general Kenneth Mtata declined to say what his organization discussed with the MDC leader but said their focus was to bring the two warring parties to a negotiating table urgently.

Mtata said the ruling Zanu-PF party was willing to talk but wanted the process to be formalized.

The church’s efforts came as reports said that Chamisa was “rallying his supporters countrywide” to unseat Mnangagwa “peacefully”.

An adamant Chamisa maintained this week that he won the elections and “he was not going to wait for the 2023 general elections to face off with Mnangagwa”, News Day reported.

Chamisa recently rejected an offer by Mnangagwa to recognise him as the leader of the opposition.

“They are saying they want me to go to Parliament and I said: ‘Are you sick?’ I was elected to go to State House and not Parliament. Hold forth because we are not easily convinced. I have no fear because I know you are solidly behind me,” Chamisa was cited as saying by The Standard.

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