MDC-T youth leader Happymore Chidziva, elected Highfield West legislator in the July 31 elections, went into hiding soon after police indicated that they wanted him in connection with the violent and deadly protests that rocked Harare last Wednesday.
The police, who during the demonstrations called in the military to crush the protest using lethal force, are keen to interview him on allegations that he incited the violence. NewsDay Weekender reporter, Blessed Mhlanga (ND), caught up with Chidziva (HC) at his hide-out to discuss his tribulations.
ND: The police have expressed interest in interviewing you. Are you going to hand yourself over to them?
HC: I will not commit suicide because the police are being overpowered by the army and the people who are coming to look for me, especially those that raided my home, are not police officers. These are Military Intelligence and Central Intelligence Organisation operatives.
Some are coming wearing masks and that is surely not about arrest. In my view, this is about torture or abduction. Is it not intimidation?
If I go there with the police obviously being overpowered by the army, it will just be like committing suicide.
ND: So are you going to skip the country and find a safe haven elsewhere?
HC: I am not going anywhere. This is my country. I was elected to represent the people in my constituency and I intend to fulfil that role.
I will remain in the country mobilising for the fight and defence of democracy.
We will not allow the vote to be stolen. We will not allow fear to rule our homes and families.
ND: How do you intend to represent your constituency while you are in hiding? Are you not being a coward?
HC: I am not a coward, but a dead leader can’t fight another day to ensure victory of the people’s will.
We saw how people were shot dead in cold blood by government agents, people who had nothing to do with those demonstrations.
We will fight within the confines of the law until we have a people’s leadership. Right now, we have the leadership of the army.
ND: How do you intend to get the people’s leadership into office?
HC: The people must pursue all avenues open to them by way of the Constitution.
Demonstrations, court processes and peaceful civil disobedience are part of our democracy.
We can’t keep funding a government that is for the few. We can’t obey people who manipulate the law, which is our aim.
ND: You stand to lose your seat if you don’t attend Parliament for a period of time stipulated at law. So what will happen if the situation continues?
HC: How does the situation continue if people speak with one voice to reject this manipulation of the election?
The people will rise and will be counted. This situation will not continue. Freedom is here. This will come to an end.
The people’s victory will be reclaimed. Nelson Chamisa will be inaugurated (president).
ND: You talk about Nelson Chamisa as incoming president, but does your party have the evidence to challenge the Zanu PF victory or it’s just talk?
HC: You will see the evidence when (the) court (hearing) starts. Evidence is not presented in newspapers.
People should follow the court case and they will hear the evidence we have. We will win in court.
The evidence is solid. Chamisa will be the President of Zimbabwe.
ND: There are allegations that you did not have polling agents in all parts of the country and, therefore, you might not have V11 forms from all polling stations, what’s your comment?
HC: We had polling agents everywhere, those who are saying that are lying. They are lying to give themselves false hope and allow themselves room for propaganda and rigging.
We had polling agents and we had roving agents. We even have information on how they were rigging even from their own polling officers.
ND: Let’s talk about your family. I hear they were beaten up and abducted from home? Are they safe?
HC: They are still in pain, but they still tell me that we have to keep fighting.
They have hope in our leadership and they say yes, we have been tortured, but our hope is in you.
It’s not about the pain they have suffered, but it’s the future of the children, to bring food on their table.
They are looking at the issue of employment, the ending of corruption.
ND: You have been asked to accept the results, move on and try again in 2023. What is your response to such calls?
HC: Those people who are saying that are Zanu PF people and we don’t have to listen to people who know they stole a vote.
We have to reclaim our stolen victory. Instead, they should have accepted our victory and moved on.
ND: Do you think anything is going to change in terms of the election results?
HC: Yes, it’s going to change because those results announced by [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice] Priscilla [Chigumba] are fake results.
True results are coming through the courts. That is the reason why they have been going after polling agents.
They want to hide the evidence. That is the reason they have been calling presiding officers back to command centres. They want to hide the evidence. They failed to run this election.
ND: You have been sceptical about the judicial system. Do you trust the courts?
HC: It’s not about trusting the courts, but it’s about laying the facts bare. It’s not about trusting the courts because at times, we have seen political judgments. We have to lay the facts and that’s what we will do.