ACCORDING to opposition MDC-Alliance president Mr Nelson Chamisa, the people who demonstrated on August 1 over the purported “delay” in the announcement of election results were “stupid”.
At a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Mr Chamisa said that the demonstrators who led to violent clashes that are now subject to an international Commission of Inquiry were “premature” and “unstrategic” and opened themselves to “manipulation by . . . archbishops of violence”.
He further distanced himself from the demonstrators claiming that on the day in question, he too was waiting for the election results.
The opposition leader claimed that he could not have incited people to embark on a violent protest because he was sure that the electoral authorities would announce the correct results and declare him winner.
Context is key.
Mr Chamisa made these remarks at a Press conference in which he was refusing to take part in the commission set to investigate the August 1 post-election violence — known as the Motlanthe Commission — which is keen to interview him.
Instead of subjecting himself to this due process, Mr Chamisa went to give his alternative version of events of the fateful day that cost six lives. Already, dozens of witnesses civilian and uniformed, have testified.
Some problems transpire at this point: Mr Chamisa is not only undermining a credible public process, but also doing it in a callous manner.
His statements above are dishonest. Facts are that before the election and the announcement of the results, Mr Chamisa and his colleagues in the MDC-T such as Messrs Happymore Chidziva and Tendai Biti called on their supporters not to accept any result short of victory for their party and Presidential candidate.
Failing which, they would make the country ungovernable in the name of “defending the vote”. Mr Biti went on to predict street violence and death.
As it turned out, the MDC-Alliance lost heavily in the parliamentary elections, as results that were being announced showed.
On August 1, MDC-Alliance supporters began protesting over the alleged delay of the announcement of the Presidential election result. They were gathered at and coming out of Harvest House, the MDC-Alliance headquarters!
This was despite the fact that legally, the time frame for the announcement of results had not lapsed; that is a five-day window since July 31 elections.
The MDC-Alliance and its supporters claimed that the “delay” amounted to stealing and manipulating the vote. Indeed, Mr Chamisa himself was adamant that while he had lost the parliamentary contest, he had won the Presidential poll.
It all fell into place: the violent protesters that thronged Harare and took instructions from Harvest House, the MDC headquarters, had this one complaint that the election delay amounted to “stealing the people’s vote”.
They went on a rampage destroying property, disrupting business and disobeying lawful orders to disperse while chanting MDC-Alliance slogans, displaying its symbols and wearing regalia with Mr Chamisa’s image.
This happened until the intervention of the army. The whole thing is now subject to the Motlanthe Commission.
For Mr Chamisa to make facile claims about not being involved and disowning his supporters is truly astounding.
Yet this is the cheap way Mr Chamisa likes his student activism-inspired politics through which he surprisingly aspires for national leadership!