MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa’s political star rose significantly yesterday after National Patriotic Front (NPF), which is believed to be linked to former President Robert Mugabe, endorsed his candidature.
Several NPF top officials, including its spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, turned up for an MDC Alliance protest march in Harare, and pledged to back Chamisa’s candidature in next month’s presidential race.
Mawarire charmed the crowd when he chanted the MDC-T slogan, before addressing thousands of protestors, saying: “We will be voting for president Chamisa.
“By July 30, he will be providing us with universities, hospitals and cash in the banks.”
Mawarire, who was accompanied by Jim Kunaka, who once led the notorious shadowy Zanu PF group, Chipangano, described Chamisa as the country’s only hope.
NPF is said to be the brainchild of the deposed Mugabe and his G40 allies, who were ousted by the military last November.
Chamisa, who leads both the MDC-T and MDC Alliance brought business in the city’s central business district to a halt when he led the demonstrators in a peaceful march to force the government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to implement a number of reforms ahead of the elections.
Clad in a red work suit and matching helmet, the youthful presidential aspirant led the procession to the Zec offices, where they handed over a petition with 10 key demands, which the opposition wants addressed before the July 30 elections.
“When we handed over the petition to Zec, they (officials) asked us where we got the people and I told them, these are the people on the voters’ roll, they are demanding that their vote be protected,” he said.
Chamisa said the demonstration was meant to demand security of the vote.
“Fear not that this year’s election will be stolen.
“We are not doing this because we are afraid of an election.
“We are doing this because we love [President Emmerson] Mnangagwa and we want to stop him from cheating,” he said.
“He [Mnangagwa] must not cheat himself to victory, because if he does that, he will be cheating the people of Zimbabwe.
“So, we want, because of love, to save Mr Mnangagwa and my brother [Vice-President] Constantino Chiwenga.
“We want, because of love, to save Zanu PF by holding a free and fair election.”
Chamisa said the party would not relent until conditions for a free and fair election were in place.
“We will not stop until we get reformed, because July 30 is not just a date for elections.
“July 30 is a day for ending the cash crisis.
“July 30 is a day of putting cash in your pockets,” he said.
The MDC Alliance leader warned that if their demands, which included an audit of the voters’ roll, inspection of the ballot paper and demilitarisation of the Zec secretariat, were not implemented, they would refuse to be railroaded into a farcical poll.
“We are not going to stop, we are going to take this demonstration to other towns. We are not going to relent until our demands are met,” he said.
Chamisa capped the demonstration by declaring to Zec and Zanu PF that he enjoyed the overwhelming support of the people.
“We have the people, we have the support of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
MDC-T chairman, Morgen Komichi said the alliance had the capacity to sustain the demonstration and even block the polls if reforms are not granted.
“When we said elections will not happen unless reforms are granted, this is what we meant. We have the capacity to sustain this movement until July 30 on a daily basis,” he said.
Chamisa is the presidential candidate of the MDC Alliance, which comprises seven opposition parties, namely MDC-T, MDC, Zim PF, PDP (Tendai Biti), Transform Zimbabwe, Zanu Ndonga and Multi-Racial Democrats.
Several other opposition parties, including Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s People’s Rainbow Coalition, have indicated their willingness to join Chamisa’s grouping.