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‘Consistency is key in struggle for democratic change in Africa’- Chamisa

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa believes that consistency is critical when fighting for democracy in Africa.

Chamisa who has been in the opposition MDC since its inception around 1999, commands a huge support base in Zimbabwe and abroad.

In the last plebiscite in 2018, the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa won 50.8% of votes, compared to 44.3% for Chamisa. The opposition leader never endorsed the results.

The country will hold the next election in less than 11 months. Chamisa has since dumped the party he contested under during the last election following controversy over ownership of the party.

He rebranded his party to the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

In an interview with Sunday Oyinloye, Publisher, Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable this week, Chamisa touched on several issues affecting Africa.

Chamisa was asked to articulate lessons he learnt from Zambia last year when then opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema (now President) won the presidential race that overthrew Edgar Lungu, by more than a million votes.

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The former Minister of Information Communication and Technology responded saying he learnt that the Zambian electoral body was ‘strong and independent’, hence he advocated for the same to happen in Zimbabwe.

Chamisa said he noted that Hichilema was consistent until his victory in August 2021.

“There are a number of lessons to learn, but I will just stick to four. Number one lesson; it’s important to have institutions that are strong, institutions that are independent and professional.

“If you don’t have an independent electoral commission, you will see such commission throwing away the wishes of the people. That is a lesson from Zambia. The institutions of the state are very independent and professional and they allowed for power transfer,” Chamisa said.

“Number two; the participation of the citizens was impressive, especially the young people. Young people in Africa must participate in the political process and determine their destiny.

“Lesson number three is this. If you are in the opposition, you have to be consistent. President Hichilema was in the opposition and ran for elections many times and even when he was being cheated he was persistent until his time came.

“Nobody misses their moment. Africa can do it; Zambia has demonstrated that democracy is workable and could flourish.”

He added: “The challenge of the continent is that those who are in office want to terrorize those who are out of office and those who are out of office want to topple those who are in office, so there has to be that understanding that we have a stake in the development of our countries and that there is no reason for vindictiveness. That is how to build a great African society. Those are the lessons from Zambia.”

By forming the CCC, Chamisa has put the final nail into the MDC brand, which had since 1999 emerged as one of the strongest political movements in Africa. Nehanda Radio