OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa pulled a bumper crowd at White City Stadium in Bulawayo yesterday as campaigns ahead of the March 26 by-elections hit the home stretch.
Chamisa, whose Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is only a few weeks old after he was forced to start afresh following the controversial grabbing of the MDC Alliance by a Douglas Mwonzora-led faction, has already held well-attended rallies in Harare and Kwekwe.
A rally in Gokwe was thwarted by police, but thousands of CCC supporters defied the law enforcement agents to meet their leaders.
The Bulawayo rally held at White City Stadium in Imenyela — the second biggest stadium in the city — was a sea of yellow.
Mwonzora’s outfit held its own rally at the nearby town hall in Pelandaba last month where attendance was estimated at less than 300.
On Friday, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga addressed a relatively small crowd in Pumula despite the ruling party pulling all stops — including bussing people to the venue — to bump up the crowds.
Bouyed by the large White City crowd, Chamisa promised to solve long-standing grievances of marginalisation and economic deprivation in Matabeleland, if his party wins the elections.
“Matabeleland we have your answers and your answers are ready,” he told the crowd.
“The first thing that we have to do as your government is to make sure that we restore Matabeleland as the industrial capital of our land.
“I know there is the issue of Gukurahundi. I am the only leader who is going to deal with truth and reconciliation in this country.”
Gukurahundi, which refers to the massacres by the army in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early years of independence, remains unresolved several decades on.
Chamisa said Zanu PF would never destroy him as he claimed there were plots to assassinate him by his rivals.
He asked: “Do you agree that (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa must rest?
“Do you know that in other countries the leader of the opposition is actually given security protection?
“But in this country the leader of the opposition is being plotted against, assassination plots, traps, arrests, and violations.
“They are trying every trick in the book, but they do not know one thing that I am like David, I am walking in the anointing that is with me. They will never destroy me,” Chamisa added.
Chamisa said he was ready to lead and drive Zimbabwe to prosperity.
“I’m ready. I am ready. In 2023 there is going to be a better government. In 2023 Matabeleland will never be Zanu PF again. I want you to be an ambassador for change,” the CCC leader said.
“Mnangagwa, your dear one Chiwenga was saying he is like Goliath. Goliath I am coming there. David is coming.”
In the Bible, Goliath was an enemy warrior who was defeated by a young shepherd David, with a sling.
“They are shocked and panicking because they thought they had buried us, but they didn’t know that they had planted a seed,’ Chamisa said.
“Everyone is saying we believe in this thing because it’s a citizens’ movement.”
The parliamentary and local government elections are being held to fill vacancies largely created by the recall of elected representatives by Mwonzora and the PDP led by Lucia Matibenga under controversial circumstances.