MDC president Nelson Chamisa and the party vice chairperson Tendai Biti turned the tables on President Emmerson Mnangagwa after putting up a polished show that many in the opposition say exposes Zanu PF as a violent party.
Biti and Chamisa, who stand accused of inciting people to demonstrate after a delay in the announcement of poll results on August 1, painted Zanu PF as a bloodthirsty party and chronicled the use of violence by the State since pre-independence which persists today.
According to the two opposition leaders, whose testimonies before the Kgalema Motlanthe commission was broadcast live on the sole national broadcaster albeit with glitches, Zanu PF is the one that triggered the violence on August 1 and there is also several precedents to that.
Observers say Biti and Chamisa turned the tables on Mnangagwa and his government who have accused the opposition of being behind the August 1 violence when six civilians were killed during protests.
Former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo who is now living in self-imposed exile said Motlanthe now has a tall order before him after the presentation of the two former student leaders.
“Chamisa and Biti did the nation proud in ways that will reverberate far and wide in and outside Zimbabwe. God took over and spoke through them. The people’s narrative was told. There’s a huge sigh of relief & hope across the nation. It’s now on Motlanthe’s shoulders,” said Moyo.
On Chamisa, Moyo said the former Cabinet minister spoke like a president exposing the shortcomings of the electoral laws and putting it on regional leaders to intervene and make sure, in future elections, results are announced expeditiously.
“It was a gripping account. I’m not surprised that the national broadcaster decided to cut coverage. But its behaviour was a further indictment on the system.
“They just showed the Commission and the world that’s watching how intolerant and repressive they are despite pretences to the contrary.
“Those who don’t get it think the historical account was unnecessary. But it was a perfect strategy. Terms of reference require an inquiry into the circumstances leading to August 1 & to understand the events you have to learn the history of violence in Zimbabwe. That context is critical.
“Those around the world who watched this performance and may have forgotten the genesis of our problems will have found a great refresher. A lot has been said about the opposition movement.
“TB’s account ticked many boxes & he represented the movement well. It was an awesome testimony presented in full knowledge of the fact that this was a stage for a bigger war of democracy,” said Alex Magaisa.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said by tracing the genesis of violence in Zimbabwe, the two opposition leaders through historical contexts could help Zimbabwe deal with its past where wounds still fester.
“They put up a good show and competently explained the history of organised political violence.
“They did manage to expose how Mnangagwa and the military are and were involved in organised political violence and this is important for the world to know, though to anyone who follows Zimbabwe closely there was nothing new,” said Saungweme.
Appearing before the commission on Monday, Chamisa said his hands are clean and laid the blame on Zanu PF.
“For the record, my hands are clean. My conscience is very clear and my resolve is unbreakable.
“These hands that you see have not spilled blood,” said Chamisa as he laid the blame on Zanu PFfor the August 1 killings.