ZANU PF national political commissar Victor Matemadanda yesterday turned a national clean-up campaign in Gweru into a platform to attack the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, saying the opposition party should acknowledge defeat in last year’s general elections.
Matemadanda, who was invited to the podium as one of the speakers, took the opportunity to lecture the opposition on the need to accept defeat and embrace development.
“As Zanu PF, we should not be ashamed to accept that in Gweru (urban council), we were beaten (by MDC) 18 to zero,” Matemadanda, who is also Defence and War Veterans deputy minister, said.
“But when MDC won all the 18 wards there, other political parties, including Zanu PF, accepted the result. I want to say to MDC, you should also acknowledge where you are defeated.”
Matemadanda added: “When a party is disgruntled over election results, it has a right to approach the courts, and when the courts rule that you have been defeated, know that you have been defeated twice.”
He said the MDC should move away from the elections mode and embrace unity to bring development to the country.
“When you acknowledge defeat, this can only bring progress and development to the nation,” he said.
“There is need to understand that where you see a Zanu PF MP, MDC has been defeated and where you see MDC, Zanu PF has been defeated. Political players should learn that only unity can bring development.”
But Gweru deputy mayor and MDC councillor Cleopas Shiri hit back at Matemadanda telling him that the opposition was there to keep a check on the ruling party.
“To Mr Matemadanda, I want to remind you that each political party has a right to do what they do in their own house,” Shiri said, while giving the vote of thanks.
“We are there for checks and balances (on the ruling party).”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa had initially been announced as guest of honour, but did not pitch up after opting to observe the clean-up campaign in Domboshava, just outside Harare.
Earlier, roads leading into the city centre had been barricaded, while vendors at the venue of the clean-up, Kudzanayi bus terminus, were stopped from operating their stalls, having earlier on been ordered to vacate the rank before end of business on Thursday.
Hundreds of Zanu PF supporters, clad in the party regalia, coming mostly from rural areas in the province, stormed the venue, much to the ire of those from the corporate sector, religious organisations, tertiary institutions, civic society, schools and government departments, who had came to attend the function.
During the introductions of guests, Midlands’s provincial administrator Albiot Maronge had to be reminded to acknowledge deputy mayor Cleopas Shiri after he skipped him from the list.