…says ED in panic mode
THE opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa says his party will soon convene an elective congress to choose a leadership amid reports of a tussle for positions as senior officials position themselves for key posts in the new outfit.
Speaking in an interview with The NewsHawks, Chamisa also said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime was in panic mode as evidenced by the introduction of oppressive legislation.
Chamisa said his party was ready to take action, as allowed by the constitution, if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), fails to ensure free and fair elections.
There has been anxiety in the new party as several individuals who occupied key positions in the MDC-Alliance were unaware of their new role in the movement and anxious over political survival.
But Chamisa, who is the interim leader of the CCC, which is yet to be officially launched, said reports of discord in the party cockpit were ill-conceived as the party was yet to have leadership structures.
“We are a new, fresh, modern and radically different citizens’ project, not a rebranded or repackaged toxic old one,” Chamisa said.
“Everyone is a champion and a leader until we have substantive elected positions. All positions are up for contest when we then choose leaders,” the former Information Communication Technology minister said.
Asked on when the congress is likely to take place, Chamisa said: “We do not advise our opponents on our next steps, but the citizens know because they drive the process.
“Nothing teaches better than history and nothing educates better than experience. We have learnt that we have infiltrators and we cannot always whisper strategies into the ear of those who stand opposed to us. The citizens are driving the processes.”
Chamisa said there were no rifts in the party as it was following procedures in the setting up of structures as the movement was “completely new” and dismissed talk that he dissolved structures to sideline some leaders.
“Which cockpit? You are thoroughly mistaken and misconceived on that one. When there is no structure, how do you dissolve anything? How do you dissolve nothing?” he asked rhetorically.
“Do not resurrect the MDC-Alliance discourse, it’s our history. We have just formed a new movement. Which structure are you saying has been dissolved when there is nothing? Structures are a creature of legal processes and for now we have just introduced the party. We are yet to have the national launch. I am the caretaker change champions’ leader and all others in the team who hold caretaker positions. We are starting from afresh. Do not conflate the past with the future, the old and the new. I was leader of the MDC-Alliance which was controversially taken away and we have a new kid on the block together with other change champions.
“Some people see confusion or division where there is none. Do not put the cart before the horse. They say so and so has this position. Who gave them that position? Everyone is a change champion as we build the new glorious citizens’ movement,” he said.
He said developments in the opposition camp that saw his MDC-Alliance losing the name, the party headquarters, the colours and almost everything was a blessing in disguise as it has managed to remove all the “chaff” and allow the birth of the new.
“The robbery has been a blessing in disguise. We are now new. The chaff is gone,” Chamisa said.
Chamisa declared his party will fight all impediments, including shenanigans by Zec, capture of state institutions, intimidation and arbitrary arrests of his supporters, to win the 2023 elections and form the next government.
“Reforms must happen. Elections must be free and fair. There is just no debate on this. But on account of Zec’s professional deficiencies, absence of probity and deficit of professional independence, Zec has fertilised voter cynicism and skepticism, rendering citizens despondent. Their handling of the voter registration process and controversy around the voters’ roll is a cause for concern,” Chamisa said.
“Zec has a constitutional obligation to conduct free, fair and credible polls. That is their sole remit. They don’t have to be stampeded to execute their constitutional mandate but if they are yearning to be so stampeded, then the citizens will gladly do so within the parameters of the national constitution,” he said.
On the idea of building a coalition with other political parties, Chamisa said: “Let me restate that the citizen agency is the currency of our new politics. CCC is a coalition of citizens for change. It is a convergence and coalition of citizens and not a coalition of political institutions.
“Just being a Zimbabwean citizen is the qualification to be part of our new brand of exciting politics. So ours is a coalition or an alliance of ordinary citizens and not political confederations,” the former student leader said.
On proposed legislation, including the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Bill and the Patriotic Bill that the ruling Zanu PF party is pursuing in Parliament, the former Kuwadzana member of Parliament said pushing for such was an indication of panic in Mnangagwa’s administration.
“I see all these as signs and symptoms of desperation,” he said. “And it’s not just about Chamisa. When everyone is an enemy to you, then you are the worst enemy. My brother ED sees an enemy in everyone, in Chamisa, in the citizens, in the war veterans, in workers, the church, in civil servants, in PVOs, in vendors, in journalists, in the doctors, in social media users, in artistes and even in school children and their parents.
“They see enemies in every sector of the country’s citizenry. That is why they are crafting laws against everyone. They know their days are numbered and they are now in panic mode.”
“We are unstoppable and unshakable. Dictatorships never learn from their predecessor’s failed templates. The world over, all dictators seem to have a hymn sheet they sing from.
“It is not sustainable to suppress people and it means their days are numbered and, ultimately, repression will have to give in. These are signs of the times and they are showing they have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing,” he added.