MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa was grilled on BBC’s HardTalk over the party’s internal squabbles, his election messages and his views on the economy.
Chamisa, who took over from founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai soon after his death in February this year, had a tough time defending his vision for a better Zimbabwe under his MDC-T administration, with the BBC news anchor Steven Sackur, describing some of his aspirations as “immature and a sign of excitability.”
He was quizzed on the violence that rocked the MDC-T party during Tsvangirai’s funeral wake, where then vice-president Thokozani Khupe and others were reportedly harassed by alleged party activists.
In his response, Chamisa said those implicated in the violence were kicked out of the main opposition party.
“We have challenges and I must say that the challenges are as a result of the DNA, the default set up in the politics of our country. All those people who were identified, because everything was under a video camera, have been dealt with. We have said that we are not going to have bad apples affect the basket of democrats, we will not accept any violent element within our midst,” Chamisa said.
However, during a recent visit to South Africa, Chamisa alleged perpetrators of the violence were Zanu PF supporters who had infiltrated the party.
The MDC-T leader said his rise to the helm of the party was constitutional — prompting Sucker to question him if the use of violence was part of the party’s governing rules.
Chamisa said if he wins the forthcoming elections, he will push for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with past misdeeds. He was, however, quick to point out that former President Robert Mugabe or anyone from his family was not a prime target of his actions.
“If I am to be given a chance to drive the vehicle called Zimbabwe into a new dispensation, I cannot be that driver who is driving looking into the rear view mirror. The past is important but the past should not arrest us,” he said, as he explained that Mugabe was part of the past.
Chamisa said the main parties were not in agreement with the manner the 2018 polls were being handled suggesting differences in the printing of ballot papers as well as how the papers would be distributed.
He also said the differences were to do with the voter’s roll, security of the voters.
“Mr Mnangagwa is the one raising the temperature of the election by continuing to be the old order. He has refused to part with the past; he has refused to be the face of the new order. In fact, he has chosen to be the face of the old order. In fact, he is the change that doesn’t deliver,” Chamisa said
Chamisa defended promises he has so far made to the electorate, saying these were based on his experience as a Cabinet minister in the inclusive government.
Despite being told that some of the promises that included a bullet train were “nonsensical and unrealistic” Chamisa stuck to his guns declaring: “I am the future, I am a young man and a visionary.”
“I have said we must begin to build infrastructure such as the one you have here. I was emphasising singing the point of modern transportation,” he said.