President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on the MDC-Alliance to join the national dialogue process and stop playing theatrics at the expense of suffering Zimbabweans.

Mnangagwa said this at a belated new year’s reception hosted for ambassadors and heads of international organisations accredited in the country on Thursday.

Mnangagwa said the dialogue is aimed at narrowing political differences among disgruntled political players who took part in July 2018 harmonized elections, and also directed at drawing a mutual social-economic future for the country.

“On the 6th of February 2019, I invited the leaders of all political parties and former presidential aspirants in the 2018 presidential elections to an unconditional dialogue aimed a narrowing our political differences and drawing a common socio-economic future, and political path for our country.

“All the presidential candidates who have maturity and sense of leadership joined us. I call on those who refuse to take part in the national dialogue to stop grand standing and playing games with the lives of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and former vice-president and National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru snubbed talks called for by Mnangagwa to discuss possible solutions to Zimbabwe’s worsening economic crisis.

Mnangagwa, who came to power through the “military intervention” in 2017 that deposed long-time leader Robert Mugabe, called for the talks to try and save the situation largely blamed by his detractors on his legitimacy.

The 76-year-old former guerrilla fighter nicknamed the “crocodile” narrowly won the disputed election last year in August – since then the economy has been in free fall.

With little wiggle room, Mnangagwa called for urgent talks, which he had previously said would only take place if Chamisa recognised his presidency.

However Chamisa snubbed the talks.

At least 12 political figures who contested in the elections met Mnangagwa at State House.

“Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, and we all have a part to play towards the prosperity and well-being of our country and our people,” said Mnangagwa at the meeting.

“As the adage goes, ‘individually are just a drop, but together we are a mighty ocean’. We thus have more to gain from unity than from individualism.”

The embattled Zanu-PF leader challenged losing presidential aspirants to accept the results of last year’s elections as a legitimate expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people. Chamisa still insists he is the rightful winner of the polls.

“As is the nature of most contests, only a single candidate will emerge, which in this case happened to be myself,” Mnangagwa said.

He pleaded with opposition leaders to join him in the re-engagement and re-integration efforts of Zimbabwe into the family of nations.

Western countries, led by the US and Britain, imposed targeted sanctions on some Zanu-PF leaders for human rights violations at the height of the country’s chaotic land reform programme in the year 2000.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called for the lifting of these sanctions, which he said made it difficult for Zimbabwe to fix its economy.

At the talks on Wednesday, Mnangagwa called on opposition leaders to help him grow the economy as no Zimbabwean, regardless of their political affiliation, “can thrive in an environment of poverty”. He also called for peace, unity, and constitutionalism.

In a statement, Chamisa said: “In this respect, the MDC believes that genuine dialogue can only take place if regionally facilitated and mediated by SADC and guaranteed by the AU and the UN.

“It is also our view and position that genuine dialogue can only take place when a conducive environment has been created for the same.”byo24