THE MDC is galvanising its support base for action against President Emmerson Mnangagwa until he acts to solve a “legitimacy crisis” which party leader Nelson Chamisa says is at the centre of all problems threatening peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the launch of MDC’s Road to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness And Democracy (Reload) policy document yesterday, Chamisa said he was waiting for people to be ready to take to the streets and mount a sustained campaign to force Mnangagwa to the negotiating table.
“Some have been saying lets go into the streets. Yes, we will go into the streets, but we must have a plan. As your leader, if I send you into the streets when you are not convinced, you will go and just like a bubble you will fizzle out,” he said.
“But when you are convinced that this is what is going to liberate our country, all of you being part of it, I can assure you we will have results and that is our leadership role. We have a duty to make sure that we engage citizens in a democratic action.”
There has been speculation that the MDC was failing to mobilise people for mass action, while police have issued warnings in anticipation of demonstrations led by the opposition. But Chamisa said these were tactics by Zanu PF to force them into action.
“We have the courage to think and the courage to act. When you have seen us not acting it’s because the acting moment has not come,” he said.
“But when it comes we will act. There will be no signal. You are the signal. We do what we do when we feel we have to do what we have to do and we are going to act.”
Chamisa told Mnangagwa and Zanu PF that he would not succumb to pressure to drop his demand that political talks address the issue of legitimacy, saying it was the crux of the matter.
“Our fundamental disagreement is that Mr Mnangagwa was not elected. He is saying he was elected so we must resolve that. Mr Mnangagwa says drop the legitimacy question. I will not drop it because that is my trump card to dialogue with you,” he charged.
“If you are saying you are legitimate and I accept you are legitimate why should I dialogue with you? Go ahead and lead the country. I must lead the opposition, but I will not do that because the issue of who has been given the mandate must be resolved first.”
The launch occurred as the MDC deputy chairperson Job Sikhala was appearing in a court in Bikita where he faces a charge of plotting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government. But Chamisa said it was a duty of every citizen to seek the ouster of Mnangagwa allegedly because he is illegitimate.
“What did Sikhala commit as a crime? They say he threatened to remove the government. How do you remove that which is not there? Is that an offence? The world over illegitimate governments are always fought; and what makes people fight illegitimate governments is that they do not derive their authority from the Constitution and from the people and doing so is not a crime; it’s actually a duty of every citizen, the world over,” Chamisa said.
Chamisa said at least 14 people, including MDC legislators have faced treason charges since Mnangagwa came into office in November 2017.