MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has claimed that there is an attempt to eliminate him, adding that the situation in Zimbabwe is now “more dangerous than Iraq”.
The opposition leader was speaking to the UK-based Sunday Times newspaper in a bid to get “the UK to help us liberate ourselves from the jaws of tyranny”.
Chamisa and his opposition coalition have rejected the results last Monday’s elections, particularly the presidential vote which he lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Anger over the result led to violence in the capital last Wednesday which left seven people dead and several others injured.
The killings were blamed on the military which swooped onto the capital’s streets to clear off the angry youths as the protests degenerated into acts of violence and vandalism.
Chamisa claimed that he was also a marked man.
“They are trying to eliminate me,” he told The Sunday Times.
“These guys are trained to kill and have been tracking me, doing all sorts of things.”
He added that he was ready to die if that’s what it would take to bring democracy to the country.
“Someone has got to do it and I’m that pair of hands, ready to pay the ultimate price for the freedom of my country.
“They have attempted to take away my life several times before.”
The 40-year-old said he was under pressure with “people calling on me, wanting me to give the signal to go to the streets.
“But I am worried there will be massive bloodshed.”
Zim worse than Iraq
He condemned the presence of the military on the streets of Harare.
“We are not at war. Why is the military taking over duties supposed to be done by police?
“And what would you say if you saw the British army on streets beating up people?
“This is a more dangerous situation than Iraq. We are dealing with a serious dictatorship, probably one of the worst in the world.”
The MDC-T leader continued; “They invaded our office and took away our computers and data, and are persecuting my fellow leaders.
“Why would you do that if you won? Are they punishing us for participating in the elections?
“Elections must be meaningful. In this country at the moment you vote only to expose yourself then you are punished. This has been the story since 1980 and we must put a stop to it.”
Worse than Mugabe
Mnangagwa, the opposition leader continued, is worse than former president Robert Mugabe.
“It’s an even gorier story because Mr Mnangagwa is selling a ruse of change when in fact it’s the same entrenched old system.
“Look around. There is no celebration, no excitement, what kind of result is that? It’s a very dangerous situation.
“All the young people in this country support the MDC, all the urban areas and almost half the people in rural areas as well as almost all government structures, so who is Mr Mnangagwa leading?”
Chamisa also expressed frustration with the international community, principally former coloniser Britain.
“It’s very unfortunate that this ruse is being swallowed hook, line and sinker,” he said.
“The international community is abandoning norms and values of freeness, fairness and good governance on the altar of political convenience, trade and economic expedience.
“Because of our history we always counted on the UK for underwriting and handholding purposes in terms of our transition from tyranny to democracy, but what we are seeing is obvious disregard of this and we don’t understand.”
ED not in charge
Chamisa suggested Mnangagwa is not really in control, describing him as “a captive”, though he refrained from endorsing the widely held belief that General Constantino Chiwenga, the former army chief who led the coup against Mugabe, is pulling the strings.
“Mr Mnangagwa seems to be in a very difficult position, possibly much more than some of us in the opposition,” he said.
“I am not sure who [is controlling] but there are elements of capture. He knows he didn’t win. Look right in his eyes and you’ll see a palpable absence of confidence.”
He rejected an apparent olive branch proffered by Mnangagwa
“Losers must never masquerade as winners and try to be magnanimous. We won this election. An offer from a person who cannot give an offer is nothing. He can’t be Father Christmas when he is not the author of Christmas.”
Instead he said he had decided to challenge the results in court. “We will challenge this declaration in the courts of law, courts of public opinion and court of international opinion which is why we are asking the UK to help us liberate ourselves from the jaws of tyranny.”
He added: “We will do everything legal and constitutional to protect the vote of the people. It’s not as if we are asking for an overturning of the result. What we are asking for is overturning of an unlawful and illegal declaration by the electoral commission on behalf of Zanu-PF.”