Elijah Chihota Correspondent
When the MDC-Alliance under the leadership of Nelson Chamisa realised that the July 30 elections were proving to be a tall order, they hatched a plan to discredit the whole election as a flawed process.
This explains why Chamisa became infamous for uttering the saboteur’s mantra, “ndinozvidira jecha”. This was a warning of the violence that he was planning to unleash on realising that the electoral tide was not in his favour.
On Tuesday, July 31, before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had announced any election result, MDC-Alliance principal, Tendai Biti illegally pre-empted the poll results by claiming that Chamisa had won.
In his own words, Biti said; “The results show beyond reasonable doubt that we have won this election and that the next President of Zimbabwe is Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
“These results were extrapolated from V11 forms that, in some cases, were posted outside polling stations and in some cases handed over to our candidates’ agents in compliance with the law. We now hope that ZEC will follow its constitutional and legal obligation defined in the Electoral Act of formally announcing the result that is consistent with what we have gathered through our own parallel voter tabulation process.”
What Biti did was in direct contravention of the Electoral Act, which makes it an offence for anyone other than a designated election official to announce election results. This was part of the planned provocation on the authorities so that in the end the Alliance would cry foul and play victim.
The events of August 1 point to a well-planned programme by the MDC-Alliance to unleash political violence. Posting on Twitter, journalist, Maynard Manyowa testified that; “At 11:00 some 200 to 300 people protested peacefully yet unlawfully. They cooperated with police, didn’t block traffic and went their way. They returned later with sticks, stones, bricks and hose-pipes. They threw bricks at the police and us. I got one at the back. Today my camera filmed things that should never happen in my country. People were paid to start something today (and) fed with alcohol and drugs. We were beaten and stoned together with the police. Cars, property and infrastructure were vandalised in the name of protest.”
As the seven-member Commission of Inquiry was carrying out hearings last week, Biti and former ZANU-PF Harare Youth League chairman, Jimu Kunaka, who left the party owing to his factional activities, were fingered as the force behind the incident.
There was also a disturbing event where protesters defiantly chased an anti-riot police vehicle. This was unheard of and also points out to Chamisa’s determination to fight law enforcement personnel and Government in general.
Chamisa’s determined effort to cripple the economy is also evident. To achieve this, he ordered his foot soldiers to burn and loot vendors’ wares indiscriminately. This was a high level of economic sabotage. Destroying goods belonging to people who were eking out an honest living amid difficult times was criminal, especially given his claims that the same people voted for him.
As if that was not enough damage, his hooligans proceeded to ZANU-PF national and provincial headquarters where they destroyed ZANU-PF bill boards, torched motor vehicles and committed other acts of vandalism.
A bus belonging to a party member, which was parked at ZANU-PF Harare provincial offices, was also burnt.
After dealing with those on the ground, Chamisa’s hired guns proceeded to the Rainbow Towers Hotel which housed the ZEC National Command Centre and demanded the release of the Presidential election results even before the stipulated five days allowed to announce poll results had lapsed.
One wonders why he wanted ZEC to release the results before proper and meticulous verification had been carried out.
Biti, who had been vocal in asserting that he was prepared to die for his vote, made an attempt to escape to Zambia to seek political asylum.
He seems to have understood the gravity of his case and the role that he played during the August 1 disturbances. He became aware that his illegal activities would catch up with him, hence the failed bid to secure refuge in Zambia.
When the Commission of Inquiry started hearings at a local hotel recently, there was deafening silence from Chamisa. I hope it has since dawned on him that his role in mobilising and urging youths to engage in violence on 1 August will also haunt him.
The long and short of it is that Chamisa realised that he could not get the necessary votes to land the Presidency, hence the use of dirty tactics to create conditions for a rerun, but alas Zimbabweans refused to be used.
Chamisa continues to talk about the elections two months after the Chief Justice Luke Malaba-led nine-member Constitutional Court declared that, indeed, President Mnangagwa was the winner of the July 30 plebiscite.
When President Mnangagwa was inaugurated on August 26, 2018, Chamisa stubbornly maintained that he had won. The people of Zimbabwe clearly spoke regarding whom they wanted to lead them and no amount of tantrums or press conferences by Chamisa and crew are ever going to change that fact.