By Blessed Mhlanga
Opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has assured his followers that he is still in charge of the main opposition political party in Zimbabwe, and dismissed what MDC-T leaders Thokozani Khupe, Morgen Komichi and Douglas Mwonzora are doing as sideshows whose purpose was to create chaos.
Chamisa said the MDC-T was the past that was ditched by its late founding president Morgan Tsvangirai when he decided to move on and join hands with former secretary-generals Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube.
“Understand this thing, MDC Alliance is a separate political party from the MDC-T, you can go to court and go visit sangomas, then go to the dead, try and speak to the late president Tsvangirai, that will not change that the MDC Alliance is a party left by Tsvangirai when he made a decision to move from MDC-T to unite the party and go back to the 2000 status. Don’t come pretending as if you want to build the legacy of Tsvangirai when you are actually destroying it,” he said during a televised rally in Harare yesterday.
Chamisa said regardless of the court battles that had left him locked out of party headquarters, without control of legislators, councillors and facing the possibility of being barred from using the MDC name, he remained in charge and in sync with the desires and aspirations of party supporters.
“Tsvangirai left me in charge, and I am in control, there is nothing you are going to do to change it, you can try by all means, but you won’t succeed. All that is happening — that Mwonzora is running around claiming that he is the secretary-general — is child’s play. You can’t continue being the SG when your term of office expired in October 2019 without going back to the membership,” he said.
The embattled political leader, who was flanked by his deputy Biti and deputy chairperson Job Sikhala, said Zimbabweans should be wary of how Mwonzora and Khupe had all of a sudden become darlings of Zanu PF in a fight against progressive and democratic forces.
“If you are a political leader, when you go and seek an enemy so that you fight your family, that’s your end. Never go to the enemy to fight your family, once the enemy finishes with your family it will come after you,” he said.
Khupe and Mwonzora have been accused of dalliance with Zanu PF and had military and police assistance to seize MRT House.
Chamisa hinted that the MDC Alliance could soon be ditching the party name, saying what mattered most was not the name.
“Some are afraid that we will lose the name MDC Alliance, the name has no significance, what is important is your agenda as Zimbabweans, and that is what we are going to be delivering, we have a strategy.
“We are already facing the future, we are already building livelihoods, we are gathering people and strengthening the party. Don’t be shaken, be comfortable the ship is under control. Thank God I am the captain. Thank God I am in good shape, thank God I am seeing clearly and the vision is very clear of where we are going,” he said.
Turning to the current economic crisis, Chamisa said the time had come to confront the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa whom he said was the father of corruption, human rights abuse and illegitimate at the same time.
“Zimbabwe needs a God-fearing leader, a leader who respects the people and not one filled with self-pride. It needs a father, not a thief, a father who knows that when you err you correct your mistakes. Zanu PF cannot divide us, they cannot destroy us. We are one and united, that is why you see they are giving up on fighting us, some think the party is falling apart, but nobody fights nothing.
“Nobody will try and kill a dead party. If you see the fights they bring to us, it’s because they know we are a strong party and the only real threat and the alternative government. We don’t have problems with them,” he said.
Chamisa said although he had no hand in the current economic crisis, he understood why he was being targeted.
“They blame us for all the problems even if we have nothing to do with it. If it does not rain (they blame) MDC Alliance, economic failure – MDC Alliance, sour foreign relations – MDC Alliance, if you see that happening it reflects lack of knowledge. There is no other country where the opposition is blamed as much as us and credited for things that happen in the country the way we are blamed.
“Everything we are credited or blamed even things we are not involved in, but wait and see when they want to get what belongs to us, they leave us and create their puppets and say that is the real MDC,” he said.
Chamisa said he would move to change governance culture and ensure that he ends corruption.
“When the MDC Alliance gets into power, we don’t want you to have the mentality of saying it’s our time to eat, there is nothing to eat when you are in government. We want you to work for the people. That is the other problem we have even at local authorities, that we are changing individuals but we are not changing the culture, we are changing the scripter and the actor, but not changing the act. Some councillors and MPs think that we are going to the feeding trough; there is nothing to eat in government. Government is not a place of feeding, it’s a place of service, a place of delivery and service to the people,” he said.
Turning to COVID-19, he accused the Mnangagwa government of using the pandemic to entrench dictatorship.
“Yes, we have to fight a disease, but we must not hide behind authoritarianism to manipulate the rights of citizens, we want to correct that. The issue of COVID-19, yes it’s a challenge. We know we have recorded a number of people who have suffered, I looked at the number of people who have been arrested 87 000 to date, from March 30, those tested are less than those arrested, it shows you the government’s mindset,” he said. News Day