Chamisa engaged me to talk to ED: Charamba

Political Review Writer

Presidential spokesman, George Charamba, has sensationally claimed that opposition leader Nelson Chamisa made several futile attempts to negotiate a political deal with President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF outside his party over the past five years, and was willing to broker away elections that took place last August.

According to Charamba, who is quoted extensively in an article in the State media, Chamisa refused to form a team of negotiators from his party – which Zanu-PF and Mnangagwa preferred – but preferred to go solo, or through emissaries ranging from the church, journalists and some individuals.

However, these all came to naught because, according to Charamba, Chamisa failed to win the trust of his interlocutors, even when he grovelled for a personal encounter with Mnangagwa that would see him all but betray his party without any consequences purportedly due to his stranglehold on the party.

Charamba cites a number of people and ocassions that also involved church leaders among them Zimbabwe Council of Churches’ Reverend Kenneth Mtata, Zion Christian Church leader Nehemiah Mutendi, an unnamed businessman as well as journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.

In the case of Chin’ono, Charamba claims that the journalist betrayed Chamisa’s trust by trying to negotiate a deal for himself instead of carrying out Chamisa’s mission.

In the case of Chin’ono, Charamba claims that the journalist betrayed Chamisa’s trust by trying to negotiate a deal for himself instead of carrying out Chamisa’s mission.

Chamisa, through Mtata, had proposed suspending elections for seven years – an idea once touted as “elections sabbath” – and was until the eve of the last elections willing to forgo elections if he could secure a political deal for himself.

Charamba reveals that Chamisa approached him, using familial ties.

 “Another approach was made directly by Chamisa himself directly to yours truly, we are related, he expressed his desire to reach the President through the VP and I advised him that in my experience, talking from experiences of the Unity Accord, I said he was overreaching by expecting to meet the President, I told him to organise a team to initiate the negotiations, beyond the discussions, which we had, nothing materialised,” Charamba is quoted saying.

“A few months after that, he shifted tact and enlisted some businessman in the food industry, who he thought was close to the First Family, and guess who was his envoy, Hopewell Chin’ono, who was entertained.

“However, it turned out that Chin’ono was more interested in his own welfare than carrying the message of Chamisa. As in previous instances the interactions died before conception,” he said.

Chamisa allegedly sent Harare Mayor Mr Jacob Mafume  to approach Bishop Mutendi, who made a request to the President “but again nothing came out of that”.

When we sat down to collate and assess these multitudes of approaches, they were distinct features that emerged. Foremost, it was clear Chamisa deeply mistrusted fellow members in CCC. He never wanted anyone within CCC to know that he was making overtures, that is why all his overtures were drawn from outside elected party officials in his party.

According to Charamba, Chamisa was so desperate to meet Mnangagwa or any envoy but wanted everything to be held under the veil of secrecy, including having such meetings a night.

“On reflection,” Charamba avers, “it was clear he did not want his party to know he was interested in personal interests over broader notions of national stability, taking a stand against sanctions, engaging financial institutions, reengaging hostile nations.”

But Chamisa did not end there. Apparently he was willing to go lower.

Claims Charamba that at one point in their our conversations, Chamisa said he said if Mnangagwa were to agree to meet him, he would allow him to “rule until donkeys grew horns”.

Charamba said Chamisa told him that he wielded unchallenged power within his party and that  his followers would toe the line.

“I asked him if he had expectations and he said it is up to the President to decide what he wants with me,” Charamba said.

The wordy spokesman claims that the President and the ruling party refused to entertain Chamisa because they concluded that “he was a deceitful character, deceitful to his would be interlocutors, deceitful to his party members and ultimately deceitful to himself”

Said Charamba: “He confuses clever politics with deception. He doesn’t realise that trust and honest(y) are fundamental to any form of engagement, this is foreign to him.”

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