PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, backed by his ruling Zanu PF party and close to 18 opposition political parties, is pressing ahead with political parties’ dialogue without the main opposition MDC and its leader Nelson Chamisa, who has insistently refused to join the process.

Zanu PF and the other political parties, who include the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe, NCA led by Lovemore Madhuku and other leaders including Bryn Mteki, yesterday met at State House and agreed to officially launch the dialogue on May 17 at the HICC.

The programme, although not yet finalised, will see the parties to the dialogue, now led by National Peace and Reconciliation Commission chairperson Justice Selo Nare and Zimbabwe Gender Commission chair Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, setting the terms and reference of the talks.

Cleric Patrick Mugadza, who is part of the talks, confirmed the launch, saying the committee will meet on Friday to finalise all the logistics of the launch.

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“We will only be able to say the terms of reference of the talks after the launch on May 17, most likely at the HICC [Harare International Conference Centre]. We will meet soon after the launch and discuss the issues that will be tabled as part of the dialogue,” he said.

In a statement, the Information ministry said at the meeting, the parties also adopted a code of conduct.

“Today (yesterday), the political actors in the national dialogue met and adopted a code of conduct that will promote conditions that are conducive for dialogue built on political tolerance, mutual respect, consensus, information dissemination and commitment to the dialogue,” the ministry said.

Chamisa has insisted that for him to meet Mnangagwa for talks, there was need for an independent interlocutor mutually agreed on by the MDC and Zanu PF.

His party has also insisted on discussing the legitimacy of Mnangagwa’s presidency, a condition Zanu PF has said it will not accept.