It’s now or never: Chamisa

OPPOSITION MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa yesterday told supporters in Chiredzi that indications on the ground were that he would beat Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa hands down if the necessary reforms were implemented ahead of next month’s polls.

By Everson Mushava

Chamisa said there was now no doubt that Zanu PF’s days were numbered, with most opposition parties rallying behind him.

“It’s a delayed match. The elections are a walkover. I will beat Mnangagwa hands down. The darkest hour is just before dawn,” he declared, to thunderous cheers from supporters at the packed Tshovani Stadium, where Vice-President Kembo Mohadi addressed a paltry crowd last week.

“We need free and fair elections. I know if we have a free and fair election, I will win. There is no way Mnangagwa can win in a free and fair poll,” he said.

Chamisa, however, insisted that he would block moves to railroad them into elections before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has acceded to electoral reforms demanded by the opposition.

The main opposition leader threatened to continue piling pressure for the reforms, including organising spontaneous countrywide demonstrations to cause a national shutdown ahead of the July 30 polls.

Chamisa and his MDC Alliance supporters last week brought business in the capital to a standstill after they marched to petition Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba calling for electoral reforms before the July plebiscite.

“We will not accept to go to the election before we see the ballot papers and see if there are some irregularities,” Chamisa said.

“We have written a letter and we had a demonstration. We will take the demonstrations to all cities and if this fails, we will shut down the whole country. We have the capacity to do so.”

He said some of their key demands included an audit of the biometric voters’ roll and that soldiers allegedly deployed to campaign for Zanu PF in the countryside should be recalled and return to the barracks.

Chamisa said that the opposition would also demand transparency in the printing, distribution and storage of voting material, adding that this time, they would be more vigilant at polling stations to guard against stuffing of ballot boxes and other election-related chicanery.

Mnangagwa has repeatedly pledged to conduct free, fair and credible polls, but a preliminary report by some international observer missions has concluded that the country was not yet ready to hold free and fair polls.

Chamisa, who held four other campaign rallies at Mhandamabwe business centre in Chivi North on Thursday, Muchakata business centre in Masvingo rural on Friday, Rutenga business centre in Mwenezi and Ngundu business centre in Chivi South on Saturday before wrapping up his programme in Chiredzi yesterday, promised to devolve governance and decentralise government services.

He also pledged to reform the Zimbabwe Republic Police, improve the welfare of soldiers and veterans of the country’s 1970s war of liberation, and revive the economy as well as improve the country’s health delivery system.

“We want to devolve government services. We want a government that looks after its people, not for people to look after their government,” he said.

“We will decentralise all government functions. Harare cannot only be the city full of life, we want the passport office to come here, and we want services to come here. We will introduce e-governance.”

Also speaking at the rally, People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti said the MDC Alliance government would introduce a public health care scheme dubbed “Chamisa Care” after winning the elections to ensure citizens have access to affordable health care services.

Biti said the issue of the economy would be the government’s priority in order to create jobs and ensure citizens have access to critical services.