Government will not hesitate to arrest MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa if he proceeds to swear himself in as president.
This follows a declaration by Chamisa over the weekend that he would convene an assembly on Saturday that would swear him in as president and proceed to announce an alternative cabinet.
However, Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Daily News yesterday that the law enforcement agents would not hesitate to arrest Chamisa if he takes the presidential oath.
“The Chief Justice is the one who is mandated to do that (swearing in). It’s a serious breach of the law. He will be arrested for that,” said Ziyambi.
“It is unfortunate that he can’t accept reality and move on as an opposition leader. We need to be united as a country…He thinks he can break our laws and get away with it. We are a serious government, we can’t allow people to breach the law and cause the suffering of innocent Zimbabweans. We are going to arrest him if he does that. Those who are mandated to maintain peace and law are ready to arrest him.”
Chamisa would be following in the footsteps of Kenya opposition party leader Raila Odinga who was sworn as the president despite losing elections to Uhuru Kenyatta.
Political analyst Gladys Hlatshwayo said the move by the MDC Alliance was a clear indication that the country’s largest opposition party does not recognise the current government.
“The impact is that Zimbabwe’s crisis of illegitimacy will continue,” she said.
“At the centre of this crisis is a perception that our national institutions such as the judiciary and the Election Management Board are so weak, partisan, captured and there to serve just a few.”
Hlatshwayo said the obtaining situation in the country’s body politic makes it difficult for any party other than Zanu PF to capture state power and therefore breeds a lot of resentment and anger resulting in such moves.
Piers Pigou, senior consultant at the International Crisis Group, said by remaining defiant Chamisa thinks that he could force government to accept some of his demands.
“Perhaps Chamisa and his team are hoping they will secure some concessions by going down this route as their ally Raila Odinga did in Kenya last year. Possibly, he will add more problems on Mnangagwa’s legitimacy issues but it is difficult to see who in the outside world would support this move in the absence of a smoking gun around electoral fraud assertions.”
“In the absence of external support and uncertainty as to how many of Chamisa’s electoral support base actually support such a move, it is difficult to assess the cost benefit of such a move and what the MDC Alliance actually hope to achieve. One is left wondering would they achieve,” said Pigou.
He said the MDC must remain vibrant until 2023 so that the ruling party will agree to some of their demands.
“Zimbabwe needs the MDC Alliance to be a critical but also constructive monitor, evaluator and analyst in the reform reengagement and recovery process. This must include addressing the array of issues that prejudiced the opposition during the election. This will be essential in the run up for 2023, which the opposition should already be strategizing around,” added Pigou.
Another political analyst Maxwell Saungweme weighed in saying the move will not have much effect.
“Mnangagwa is a president under a disputed election and therefore has some legitimacy issues, but that ends there. No one doubts that Uhuru is Kenya’s president, even if Raila did exactly the same thing Chamisa is doing. After all both Chamisa and Mnangagwa claim to have over two million votes out of a population of 13 million people, so the question and claim of legitimacy by both them is a bot stretched and a mirage.
“Swearing himself in is a script borrowed from Raila in Kenya and the outcome is as predictable. It will face the same fate Raila’s inauguration faced – high sounding political stunt with minimal effect for its intended purpose. Maybe learning in politics is not doing what your friend did and failed.”