Zimbabwe’s President invites opposition for talks as teachers strike

Vastavam web: Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited opposition leaders to a meeting on Wednesday to draw up terms for a national dialogue, they said, following a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests. More than 20 politicians who contested July’s presidential election were invited, two of whom – Lovemore Madhuku and Noah Manyika – said they would attend. It would be the first meeting between Mnangagwa and opponents since he took power from Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

“It can only take place if, as the president promised upon his return from his overseas trip, the heads of those who have been responsible for brutalising citizens roll,” Manyika said. On Tuesday, a nationwide strike by public sector teachers for better pay got off to a patchy start, as some stayed at home while others attended school but did not teach amid fears of further intimidation.

On his return home, Mnangagwa promised action against brutality by police and troops and called for a national dialogue. There was no immediate comment on Tuesday’s invitation from Mnangagwa or his spokesman. Nelson Chamisa, who heads the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and who counts Manyika among his allies, could not be reached for comment.

The MDC believes Zimbabwe is reverting to the authoritarian rule that characterised the regime of long-time leader Mugabe, and says the election that confirmed Mnangagwa as president in July was rigged, an allegation the judiciary rejected.