EMBATTLED opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has sensationally claimed that after rigging the 2018 presidential poll, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government dangled lucrative perks to him so that he could dump his electoral challenge.
Chamisa said he snubbed the offer, saying he would rather stand with the oppressed people than wine and dine with ruling party elites as opposition leader in Parliament.
The opposition leader made the disclosure at the funeral of the late recalled MP Annah Muyambo Mpofu in Chitungwiza at the weekend.
He vowed to resist trappings of power and material possessions at the expense of the people’s struggle.
The MDC Alliance leader, who has since lost control of the MDC party headquarters, and 32 parliamentary seats to the rival MDCT camp led by Thokozani Khupe whom he trounced in the 2018 elections, said he would continue standing firm and not give in to Zanu-PF’s machinations to destroy his party.
Chamisa said Mnangagwa had offered him State security aides, a motorcade, and an office among other attractive benefits as leader of the opposition soon after the disputed 2018 harmonised elections.
The perks that Chamisa snubbed were now likely going to be enjoyed by Khupe, who was sworn in last week as Member of Parliament and leader of the opposition in Parliament.
“They came to me and said they would give me a motorcade, vehicles, perks and bodyguards, but I refused saying life is not all about that,” Chamisa said.
“It is about legacy and sacrifice for the good of the people. I told them they can take anything from us, but let us remain with the people and that way we will get where we want to be.”
Chamisa added: “We are not in politics for money or positions. Those who want money can go where the money is. We are here for the people and we will stand with the people knowing that ultimately, the power of the people will prevail.”
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba confirmed on his official Twitter handle that Chamisa would have benefited from the post of leader of the opposition had he not snubbed the offer.
He said there was nothing amiss about perks for opposition members as it was meant to “engender collaborative national politics in the country”.
“The idea of providing and pegging perks for the leader of the opposition predates rancour in the opposition. As a matter of fact, it is meant to align Zimbabwe’s practices to those obtaining in most Commonwealth countries, and of course to engender collaborative national politics in the country.
“As a matter of fact, Chamisa would have been the first beneficiary had he not snubbed the idea in favour of adversarial post-election politics which has landed him in the current slough. It doesn’t make sense or intelligence to personalise a measure mooted on the basis of precedence elsewhere in the world, and one likely to be realized in terms of a law passed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe to which the opposition is a party,” Charamba tweeted.
At the same funeral wake in Chitungwiza, Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala told mourners that it was time for the MDC Alliance leadership to realise that popularity alone did not translate into State power.
“Popularity does not win power. There were leaders who were unpopular in the world who ruled for decades. (The late former President Robert) Mugabe was the most unpopular leader, but he ruled for 37 years. Morgan Tsvangirai (the late MDC-T leader) was the most popular leader since the advent of politics in the whole world, but he died without leading,” Sikhala said.
“We have 2,6 million votes, meaning our president and party are the most popular brands in the political matrix of Zimbabwe, but we are not in power. ED is unpopular, but he is in power. My sister Khupe, even reptiles and dogs do not want to see her, but she is in power. Power is now being controlled by the unpopular while the popular ones are not in power,” he added, urging the party to restrategise.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance yesterday presented its audited financial statements for the seven months ended December 31, 2019, whose major findings revealed that the party received more than $6,2 million from its party membership and government from May 27 to December 2019.
The audit was carried out by Auditax Chartered Accountants in Zimbabwe following reports of abuse of funds by Chamisa’s former lieutenants who have defected to Khupe’s party.
“The directors have assessed the ability of the party to continue operating as a going concern and believe that the preparation of these financial statements on a going concern basis is still appropriate. However, the directors believe that under the current economic environment a continuous assessment of the ability of the party to continue to operate as a going concern will need to be performed to determine the continued appropriateness of the going concern assumption that has been applied in the preparation of these financial statements,” the auditors said.
The party this year failed to access its share of funds under the Political Parties (Finance) Act after the $7 million earmarked for the MDC Alliance was diverted to Khupe’s MDC-T.
Since then the MDC Alliance has been struggling to meet running costs.