MDC leader Nelson Chamisa says his party will roll out a resistance plan after the party’s congress later this month, which should culminate in an early election.
Chamisa, who claims he was robbed of an election victory last July, told supporters in Bulawayo’s Mzilikazi suburb during debates between candidates for executive positions at the congress that Zimbabweans were suffering, and could not bear President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for another four years.
“Wait for our congress. After the 26th, you’ll see what’s going to happen. We can’t be having problems in the country when we have such competent people in leadership. Listen to the quality of debate, the MDC is rich. We want 2023 right now. We’re not going to shirk,” Chamisa said.
The 41-year-old has previously threatened to lead mass protests that will shut down the country, insisting the economic crisis is a result of Mnangagwa’s illegitimacy.
Former finance minister and Harare East MP Tendai Biti, who is campaigning to deputise Chamisa, told the party faithful they must put Chamisa at State House by the end of 2019.
“We must complete the journey that we started at Rufaro Stadium on September 11, 1999 (day MDC was formed). That means that we want to put this man at Number 1, Chancellor Lane, Borrowdale, also known as State House before the end of the year!” Biti said.
Like Chamisa, he did not spell out how that would come about, but he did reference a need for the party “to be in the streets, because the constitution of the country allows us to be in the streets.”
Mnangagwa has twice met protests by deploying the military, killing over 26 people. The first protest was in August 1 last year when opposition protesters marched through Harare demanding the release of presidential election results. Thirty-five people were shot by the military, six fatally, during the protest.
The army was again in the streets on January 14 this year when Zimbabweans staged nationwide protests against a shock fuel price increase decreed by Mnangagwa. The army killed at least 18 people, according to rights groups, and over 70 others were treated for gunshot wounds in the subsequent crackdown which lasted weeks.
Anger is rising, however, against Mnangagwa’s government as Zimbabweans battle power outages, fuel shortages, sky-rocketing prices and rising inflation which is eroding their incomes.