OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has challenged his Zanu PF rivals, particularly President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, to stop wasting their energy fighting him, but redirect their energy towards the real problem – the free-falling economy.
Chamisa told NewsDay yesterday that Mnangagwa’s government was now using every opportunity to personally attack him in a desperate move to divert public attention from its failures.
Chamisa, who is today expected to appear before the commission of inquiry led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to give evidence into the August 1 fatal shooting of six civilians in Harare, said instead of playing blame-games, Mnangagwa ought to engage all key stakeholders, including the MDC, for a national dialogue to resolve the current socio-economic crisis.
This came after Mnangagwa and Chiwenga took turns at a Zanu PF rally in Zvimba at the weekend to lampoon Chamisa, vowing the youthful opposition leader would not rule this country.
“Chamisa is not the enemy, I am not the economy, I am not corruption, I am not bad leadership and bad governance, so the focus cannot be on an individual, but the focus has to be the collective challenges Zimbabweans are facing and that we must understand,” the opposition leader said.
“The centre and focus of attack is poverty, price increases, shortage of basic commodities and other challenges facing Zimbabwe. Those kinds of problems are the ones that must be attacked. They must not really waste their energy on a patriot and a democrat who is trying to make lives better for the ordinary people, including even for them.
“A country, a nation is not built by insults and hatred. A nation is built by love and magnanimity. Instead of my old man Mnangagwa and my uncle Chiwenga being driven by so much anger, they seem to be so angry. They must be driven by love for their country and the love for their people,” Chamisa said, adding the Zanu PF leadership seemed unsettled by the level of grassroots support he commands, as evidenced by the over two million votes he garnered in the July 30 harmonised elections.
He said Mnangagwa could not credibly talk about international engagement when he is not open for national dialogue with his competition.
The opposition leader has persistently refused to recognise Mnagangwa’s victory in the July 30 polls, citing massive vote-rigging.
Chamisa said most Zimbabweans had now realised they were sold a dummy and were now worse off than they were under former President Robert Mugabe, who was toppled by the military last November. He said the jubilation of seeing Mugabe going had now turned into mourning.
“What we are seeing is that we have gone back to the default setting of arrogance, abusing those who do not agree with him. Can you tell me why would you use police on Members of Parliament, simply because you say they didn’t stand up for you?” he said, in reference to last week’s incident where opposition legislators declined to stand up in honour as Mnangagwa walked into Parliament building for the National Budget presentation.
The MDC Alliance MPs were eventually ordered out of the House by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda.
“Even if they stand up for you, they are not convinced in their hearts that they must respect you. Respect is earned and not forced. When you force respect, that is dictatorship.
“You cannot have command agriculture, command economy, command respect and command President; command love, it is not appropriate and it does not go down well with our nation.”
Chamisa said Chiwenga had a colonial mindset, similar to that of the late former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith, who declared that the country would not be liberated in 1 000 years.
“Their focus must be on the economy; their focus must be on fixing the national politics. Our politics is rotten; our nation is broken; our people are forsaken; the ordinary people are forgotten and those are the real issues that we must focus on.
“The nation must focus more on light rather than darkness; unity rather than division; healing rather than creating more wounds. This is my advice to them. This warrior mind is what brought this nation into the doldrums.”
He said only dialogue would solve the Zimbabwean crisis.