Emmerson Mnangagwa. REUTERS
Emmerson Mnangagwa. REUTERS

Harare — Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out forming a power sharing government with popular opposition leader Nelson Chamisa whom he narrowly beat in disputed elections held in July.

In 2008, former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki brokered a Government of National Unity between Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC, following disputed elections that year. The  pact brought about some economic stability.

Recommendations of a return to a power sharing agreement have dominated debate  in the country after the outcome of the July 30 elections was bitterly contested by the opposition while the European Union called the poll “short of international standards”.

On Tuesday, Chamisa told journalists that he was open to the idea of a “transitional national authority” to lay the framework for steps to resolve Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

Economic challenges were aggravated shortly after the disputed general election, leading to acute currency shortages, a thriving currency black market, steep price increases, shop shelves empty of basic commodities and   lack of confidence in Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF government.

Addressing a meeting of the Zanu-PF central committee in Harare, Mnangagwa said his party would go it alone in trying to resolve biting economic challenges.

 “Nothing is on our agenda for a government of national unity. We do not have that agenda. Let those who continue to dream and we will continue to be practical in the development of our country,” he said.

Mnangagwa blamed economic challenges on corruption and greed by some top officials who he did not name.

“In the wake of the extremely wicked activities by gluttonous persons and businesses in our economy, I challenge you as the party to be highly disciplined and upright in all your dealings.

“Shun all forms of corruption and be exemplary. Government is fully aware of the machinations by some detractors and economic opportunists who are bent on creating despondency in the country through manipulation of the foreign currency market and creation of artificial shortages.”  

He took a swipe at some of his party members who have spoken against austerity measures introduced by finance and economic development minister Mthuli Ncube.

Mnangagwa said Tuesday’s lifting of a ban on imports of basic goods was meant to provide interim relief for people to access basic commodities.

“The lifting of the ban of SI 122 (import restrictions) is one such move which is meant to provide interim relief to our people. My government will neither let people go without basic commodities, nor allow the willy-nilly depletion of incomes by a few rogue businesses and persons.”

SA’s retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers  will  benefit from the lifting of the import ban which is expected to spur increased spending from Zimbabweans who flock to buy goods across the border.