Zimbabwe opposition boycotts presidential address

Tuesday October 1 2019

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa speaks at the 74th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters on September 25, 2019 in New York. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) 

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Zimbabwe's main opposition party walked out of parliament as President Emmerson Mnangagwa began his state of the nation address.

A spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the party does not recognise Mr Mnangagwa as a legitimate president, the ZimLive news site tweeted.

It quoted MDC spokesman Daniel Molokele saying the party still does not regard Mnangagwa as legitimate president.

In his address, Mr Mnangagwa urged all opposition parties to join a national dialogue which began after the disputed 2018 elections.

He also asked people to be patient as the government implements reforms aimed at addressing the country's economic challenges.

A severe cash and fuel shortage, high levels of inflation as well as power cuts are making life extremely difficult for Zimbabweans.


The MDC's attempts to organise protests against the government's handling of the economy have been repeatedly broken up by the police.

Mr Mnangagwa's victory in elections was marred by allegations of vote-rigging, and at least six people were killed at the time in clashes between the security forces and opposition supporters.

Recently human rights groups say more than 50 opposition activists and trade union leaders have been abducted or detained in tactics reminiscent of the latter days of Robert Mugabe's rule.