OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday warned that President Emmerson Mnangagwa would soon go the same way as some of the world’s worst dictators, who were elbowed out of power over gross human rights violations.
Addressing a campaign rally for the late party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s son, Vincent, who is the party’s parliamentary candidate for Glen View South in Harare, Chamisa said the MDC would soon unveil a new strategy to force Mnangagwa out of office.
He, however, could not disclose the strategy, saying party activists would soon get the signal.
He equated Mnangagwa’s use of brute force to silence dissent and crush opposition activities to the regimes of Uganda’s Idi Amini, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic and Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir before they were elbowed out of power through public anger.
But government dismissed Chamisa’s warnings as child talk, saying the Zanu PF leader would see through his five-year mandate and remain eligible for re-election in 2023.
“It is worrying that people are being followed to their houses and their rights violated by the people who are supposed to protect them,” Chamisa said.
“There is no freedom. This shows a breakdown of citizen and police contract. We now have a new Ian Smith. Mnangagwa is using Rhodesia’s template which gave birth to the liberation war, but we are not going to stop our constitutional right to demonstrate. We will demonstrate until they go.”
“There is no revolution that won’t succeed. If they continue stifling our efforts to demonstrate, we will find ways to free ourselves. If a person is stifled, he will look for ways to come out of that situation. Our Constitution has a lot of choices to make and as a party leadership, we will tell you what other ways to take.”
Last month, Chamisa had his series of protest marches across the country blocked at the eleventh hour by police and the courts, who cited possible outbreaks of violence.
The prohibition orders were immediately followed by alleged nocturnal visits and abductions of MDC and civil society activists by suspected State security agents.
Mnangagwa’s government has, however, dismissed the abduction allegations, with Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi claiming they were stage-managed to tarnish government’s image.
Mutodi yesterday dismissed Chamisa’s threats, saying Mnangagwa had the people’s mandate to run for a full five-year term.
“I just want him to know that President Mnangagwa was elected by the masses of Zimbabwe. Like it or not, he will finish his term and remain eligible for re-election in 2023. I know that it’s the truth he does not want to hear. President Mnangagwa will remain the favourite in 2023,” the Information deputy minister said.
On allegations of dictatorship, Mutodi said: “The President did not suspend the Constitution. There is no state of emergency in Zimbabwe. It is the police that banned the protests because they knew they will turn violent like before. Where is the dictatorship? Those are malicious allegations. Just a word of advice: Chamisa must focus on preparing for the 2023 elections and stop focussing on things he cannot change.”
Chamisa also said his party had formally approached the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to complain and request for investigations into allegations that Zanu PF youths were given police uniform to defuse the MDC protests in Harare on August 16.
“We have written a letter of complaint to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for them to investigate the reports that Zanu PF youths were used to defuse the demonstration. Our legal team is also seized with the matter and we are in the process of writing a letter to Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, so that he will furnish us with the names of police officers deployed to defuse the demonstration. It is allowed by the law to know their names in the face of these allegations,” Chamisa said.
Also addressing the same rally, MDC vice-president Tendai Biti said the national economy had shrunk to an extent that ordinary citizens were now surviving on $0,35 cents a day after the Mnangagwa regime allegedly stole more than US$5 billion.
“On December 27, 2017, just 10 days after removing Robert Mugabe, the Ministry of Finance transferred US$2,7 billion to an unknown person, without any paper trail, while we suffer. In 2018, the Ministry of Finance again transferred US$3,2 billion to an unknown person without any paper trail,” Biti said.
The MDC vice-president told party supporters that the problems the country was facing were as a result of Zanu PF’s misrule.
The Glen View South by-election is scheduled for September 7, and Vincent is among several other candidates vying for the seat. The seat fell vacant following the death of Tsvangirai’s daughter, Vimbai, a few months ago.