ZwNews Chief Correspondent
Presenting his evidence at the commission of inquiry over the killing of civilians by the national army, Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance (MDC-Alliance) president Nelson Chamisa, maintained that those who demonstrated on 1 August 2018, were not his supporters.
Chamisa sarcastically told the commission that he as a topnotch lawyer in Zimbabwe would never have planned a disjointed demo, whose participants have allegedly been blamed for endangering human lives and destroying property.
During the inquiry, he maintained that Thursday’s (yesterday’s) demo was to proceed and in a planned, well coordinated, and peaceful manner, in line with the democratic ethos he subscribes to.
Meanwhile, the current demonstration by Chamisa could have set a precedent that would give President Emmerson Mnangagwa headaches since it has been proved that peaceful protests can be conducted.
Zimbabwe is undergoing a rough patch, that emerged from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s failure to attain legitimacy after the November 2017 coup. What Mnangagwa could have done upon returning from exile was setting up a caretaker leader to run the affairs of Zimbabwe, while he gears for credible elections.
However, ED opted for otherwise, and chose to be installed by the junta, and it eroded his legitimacy from that onset, the move worked to his disadvantage as most foreign investors, and nations that had reportedly promised aid in the event that strong-man Robert Mugabe goes, backtracked; not wanting to be associated with the eventual military government.
The next option for ED to salvage something was through an election, this too failed as the polls were viewed as not been free and fair. This opened further troubles for the country as the legitimacy test was missed for the second time.
It further gave Chamisa more political ground, who by this time would have been relegated to the political dustbin.
Anyway, Chamisa’s political relevance seem to be blooming with each outing, he proves to have the masses on his side. As for Zimbabwe the only way out is that of dialogue between Chamisa and President Mnangagwa.
In his petition addressed and delivered to the Parliament of Zimbabwe and to President Mnangagwa yesterday, Chamisa noted the need for dialogue.
It was also addressed to the Southern African Development Community, and the African Union. The petition was themed ‘The petition on the Roadmap to Legitimacy and Democracy in Zimbabwe, it called for a national transitional authority to be instituted, following the legitimacy void created as a result of the disputed 2018 polls.
Be that as it may, on the other hand, President Mnangagwa also seems to have climbed down from his previous stance of wanting to do it alone. He recently said he was ready to engage his youthful challenger in a political dialogue to end the country’s economic quagmire.
However, as it stands the only sticking point could be the conditions for the proposed talks. Mnangagwa wants Chamisa to recognise him as the legitimately elected president of Zimbabwe. While Chamisa is saying the talks should be premised on the basis that he won the presidential polls.
That being the case, the recent events have proven that for the country to move forward, the two political foes should find each other. As the calls for dialogue continue to ring loud and loud, Zimbabwe’s prospects now rest on the proposed dialogue, as no foreign engagement process may succeed in a state marred by legitimacy issues.
The ever growing, legitimacy gap in the country’s political discourse and Chamisa’s undying political relevance need to be addressed sooner than later. There is a strong need for the regional and continental block to push for dialogue.
The fact that Chamisa can call for a demonstration and people willingly respond to his call, explains a lot as far as how he commands the masses. Even during the inquiry which was meant to implicate him as the man to blame, Chamisa managed to charm the commission with much ease, without being emotional.
He seized the opportunity and began to campaign dishing out his doctrine with the commissioners nodding in agreement with his narrative.
It is highly believed that Chamisa would use the success of the Harare demo to initiate nationwide peaceful protests.
As for Mnangagwa, he is going to find it hard to stop any of Chamisa’s future demos on the grounds of preserving peace, as the young leader has proven it that he can organise demonstrations in which no property can be destroyed.
A precedence has been set.
In Zimbabwe, it has become crystal clear that you can not sweep the problem under the carpet, neither should you employ the ostrich syndrome. At the current juncture, only dialogue is the gateway to economic emancipation.
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