MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has boasted the country’s military was on his side as he takes on President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a crunch Presidential election in two weeks’ time.
Chamisa said this while trying to calm down a section of his followers who had suddenly gone into a deafening crescendo of jeers on site of groups of soldiers who kept using a road passing by Sakubva Stadium during an MDC Alliance rally Saturday.
The opposition presidential hopeful was addressing thousands of MDC supporters in Mutare.
But his address was momentarily drowned by a section of his supporters who started jeering on the conspicuous sight of uniformed servicemen who were passing by the packed stadium.
“Chamisa! Chamisa! Chamisa!” the crowd chanted while showing open palms in the direction of the passing soldiers.
Chamisa had to abruptly stop his address and asked the DJ to play some music while MDC security rushed to the terraces to investigate what had caught the attention of the party faithful.
On being briefed this was in fact a group of soldiers who were going about their business, he played down any sinister motives by the military, assuring his followers these were friendlier forces to his cause.
“Fear not. Soldiers are on our side. This is our army,” Chamisa said.
“We want to warn Emmerson Mnangagwa not to assume that he has support of everyone in the country. All the youths in the country will not tolerate any nonsense.”
He added, “I will be leading them and any funny tricks to rig the election will be met with serious resistance. We are going to resist any attempt to rig the polls,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s military has been accused of siding with the Zanu PF led government following vows by the military top brass they were not going to countenance any presidential winner with no liberation war credentials.
This was in apparent reference to the late but popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was then viewed a threat to then President Robert Mugabe.
President Mnangagwa, who muscled his way to the country’s top job through a military assisted coup November last year, has tried to camourflash his links to the military.
His regime has since railroaded military spokespersons to deny any Zanu PF links while pledging impartiality within the country’s political arena.