Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has ruled out forming a coalition government with the opposition in advance of elections due later this year.
His comments on Friday came after visiting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is suffering from colon cancer, at his home in the capital, Harare.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mnangagwa said Tsvangirai “is recuperating very well and says he will soon be going back for another medical check-up to South Africa”.
When asked about the prospect of a unity government with the opposition leader, he replied: “We are a democratic country and people can lobby for anything. Currently, there is no need.”
An image of the two leaders’ meeting showed Tsvangirai looking thin as he sat on a couch next to Mnangagwa.
The president was accompanied by his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, a former army chief who led a military takeover that led long-time leader Robert Mugabe reluctantly step down.
Mnangagwa has not appointed any opposition figures in his cabinet.
Zimbabwe’s elections are expected to take place by September. Mnangagwa has previously suggested they could be held as early as March.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has been the biggest challenger of ZANU-PF, which has been in power since independence in 1980.
In the 2008 elections, Tsvangirai was the main challenger to ZANU-PF and managed to win 47 percent of the vote against Mugabe’s 43 percent. He fell short, however, of the threshold needed to avoid a second round.
Tsvangirai boycotted the runoff, alleging military-led intimidation and harassment of his supporters.
He later entered negotiations and subsequently became prime minister in a unity government between 2009 and 2013.