The country’s boisterous liberation war fighters have called on MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to close ranks with his nemesis, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying a divided house will not stand.
Mnangagwa was confirmed winner of the tightly contested election by the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) last week, with 2,4 million votes, representing 50,6 percent of the votes cast.
He defeated his closet rival, Chamisa, who polled 2,1 million votes (44,3 percent).
Chamisa had approached the Con-Court, alleging the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had rigged the polls to the incumbent’s advantage.
Even after the superior court’s ruling, Chamisa has “respectfully” rejected the verdict.
But speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (Znlwva) Victor Matemadanda urged Chamisa to accept the outcome and join Mnangagwa in government for the sake of progress.
Matemadanda said it was the war veterans’ belief that the country could only move forward if Chamisa accepts Mnangagwa’s invitation to work with him.
“However, working together starts with the loser recognising the winner as the legitimate president because that is what happened when (the late MDC leader Morgan) Tsvangirai formed a Government of National Unity with (former president Robert) Mugabe.
“Tsvangirai was adamant, initially, but he calmed and accepted that the country needed to move forward; that is what Chamisa must do because there is no development when the leaders are not pulling in one direction,” he said.
Matemadanda said amassing over two million votes for a first timer was a no mean feat for Chamisa.
He said the MDC Alliance leader must start preparing for the next elections because if he does that well enough, there was a strong possibility of him making it next time. “Age is on his side so he must just work to keep the momentum,” he said.
The Znlwva secretary-general, however, said the 40 year-old MDC Alliance leader should strive to be an honest leader.
“He needs to just be truthful and honest so that he keeps his support base as opposed to saying I can do anything for the sake of power,” he said.
The next plebiscite is due in 2023 by which time Chamisa will be 45 years old.
Earlier, the war veterans’ leader had courted the wrath of the MDC Alliance leaders’ sympathisers when he declared that former Finance minister Tendai Biti and Chamisa should be treated as the country’s enemies for allegedly joining forces with ousted Mugabe.
Addressing the media in Harare last week, Matemadanda was quoted saying while it was not Znlwva’s business to interfere in the internal affairs of MDC Alliance, they believe it was up to the real MDC to stand up and reclaim their party from Biti and Chamisa.
“They are working with Grace and Robert Mugabe. It defies logic that on November 18 Chamisa was with us, condemning Mugabe,” he said.
“We removed Mugabe for them, we removed their monster but today the same MDC is going into bed with Mugabe. What does the real MDC say?
What does the Dzamara family think of Chamisa?
“Mugabe is not supposed to be even alive, most of his age-mates are dead, and I don’t know how Chamisa refers to him. His ancestor perhaps? He is now in bed with him.
“Mugabe has become a saint and darling to Chamisa. That’s treachery.
That’s why we say he should not get support from the real MDC. Those who voted (MDC secretary-general Douglas) Mwonzora against Chamisa for SG at their last congress must now stand up and throw Chamisa into the political dustbin.
“We urge them to democratically elect a successor to Tsvangirai.
Chamisa is now like his new found mentor, Mugabe — violent and autocratic.”
The MDC Alliance angrily reacted to Matemadanda’s sentiments describing them as “reckless, irresponsible and disgusting”.
In a statement, the alliance said it was aware of the ill-intention of the “renegade grouping of these so-called war veterans to intimidate the Judiciary before the constitutional hearing and trial proceedings of the electoral fraud application filed by the MDC Alliance.
“The timing of the press conference and the vile utterances by the conveners smacks of a dirty scheme by Matemadanda and his cohorts to influence the outcome of the court and subvert the will of the people of Zimbabwe”.