Nobleman Runyanga Correspondent
Following the violent and destructive protests of January 14 , which were called for by the MDC Alliance, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and some civil society organisations ostensibly to register their disquiet over the fuel increases announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa two days earlier, the opposition is making baseless claims of persecution. An examination of the involvement of the MDC Alliance’s members in the protests lays bare the fact that the party’s claims are blatantly false.
Since the MDC Alliance’s presidential election defeat last year, the party has been bitter and its leader, Nelson Chamisa, has not hidden his frustration with the loss.
Realising that there was no way that President Mnangagwa’s win could be reversed since it had been announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and confirmed by the Constitutional Court, Chamisa has been throwing around careless claims such as his unsubstantiated charge that the President had stolen the election. He, however, failed to prove his claim in the Constitutional Court.
He has told the media that he would seek to exact his “pound of flesh” on the matter by staging demonstrations and engaging the regional bodies among other initiatives.
Chamisa has not ruled out sabotage to ensure that President Mnangagwa would not enjoy his reign. For the past six months the phrase “tinozvidira jecha (we’ll spoil his reign)” has not departed from his mouth. He has even responded to the critics of his politics of sabotage by stating that “jecha rinovaka (despite the sabotage, if engaged he can be constructive)”.
Given the foregoing background, it is very clear that the MDC Alliance leadership has been supportive of protests. This time around they could not openly support the call for protests following their condemnation by the Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 2018 incident which established that some senior MDC Alliance members, who include Chamisa himself, had been instrumental in inciting its excitable and impressionable youths into demonstrating against ZEC, which was still in the process of collating and announcing election results.
Despite being fingered in the organisation of the August 1 protest, other leaders such as Kuwadzana legislator Chalton Hwende took to Twitter on December 31 last year to lay out the MDC Alliance’s subversive agenda for 2019 which included protests.
“2019 is the year of rolling mass action against the illegal regime of (President) Emmerson Mnangagwa. We voted for Nelson Chamisa and we must be like the thousands of gallant liberation struggle heroes to die defending our right to choose the president of our choice,” said Hwende. He signed off with an equally subversive hash tag: “#2019Chamisa muOffice” which indicates that the party will stop at nothing to forcefully remove a constitutionally-elected President from office and replace him with a losing candidate. It is against this background that Zimbabweans and the world should understand the mindless mayhem which rocked some of Zimbabwe’s cities on January 14 and 15.
Although Chamisa has strenuously denied his party’s involvement in the organisation of the violent and destructive protests, evidence on the ground has shown that his lieutenants worked together with the likes of ZCTU and #ThisFlag in mobilising the youths who unleashed lawlessness on the two fateful two days.
One video circulating on the social media features the MDC Alliance Chitungwiza legislator, Godfrey Sithole, inciting party members to demonstrate and loot shops. Asked about it by the media, Chamisa was evasive. Other legislators who allegedly organised people in their areas include the party’s national organising secretary, Amos Chibaya, Livingstone Chiminya of Chiwundura and Lloyd Mukapiko of Redcliff, who held meetings in their homes under the cover of darkness to plot the violence and destruction which rocked Gweru on January 15.
The MDC Alliance’s history of violent and destructive protests is known.
On August 24, 2016 the MDC-T youth assembly members left a trail of destruction in Harare after vandalising and looting shops such as those belonging to Jet, Huawei, Choppies and GoldTech among others during what they termed an electoral reforms march.
Two days later the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), which was an MDC-T project that was hosted and assisted by ZCTU, also protested in Harare adding to the tally of business losses as the group also left a trail of destruction. Zimbabweans will remember the MDC-T youth assembly’s stoning to death of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Borrowdale deputy officer- in-charge, the late Inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View in May 2011.
Although Chamisa has denied his party’s involvement in the orgy of violence, looting, arson and the death of a police officer in Bulawayo, his senior members’ overt and covert participation does not make the ongoing arrest and prosecution of suspected participants a persecution. Despite the horrible acts of the participants such as the vandalisation of the Makoni Police Station in Chitungwiza, which falls under Sithole’s constituency, and the torching of police motor vehicles at the same place, Chamisa shamelessly refers to the suspects as “political prisoners” and “prisoners of conscience” who should be released.
Before Chamisa tells the world the one-sided story of the arrests of some members of his party members, he needs to explain the over $1 billion losses incurred by businesses on the first day of the strike.
He should also inform the world of the bereaved family of ZRP Constable Alexio Maune, who was stoned to death by protestors in Bulawayo on January 14 in the line of duty. Chamisa should be honest to bodies such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) of how youths from his party went about mounting illegal roadblocks in Harare and extorting various sums amounts of money from motorists. He should let them in on how they forcibly took over the Skyline tollgate along the Harare-Masvingo Road, collected tolls from motorists before setting its infrastructure on fire.
For years, the MDC Alliance has thrived on victimhood most of which is contrived.
For some time now it has earned Western funding and sympathy by playing victim in a grand way to draw the attention of the global media and time has come now to expose its hand in various destructive projects which are calculated to cast ZANU-PF and Government in bad light.
It is time to tell the world that the so- called persecuted MDC Alliance senior members are, in fact, the leaders of the persecutors of ordinary Zimbabweans and investors such as the Choppies retail group whose nine shops were ransacked and burnt.
Chamisa has now announced that he would only enter into dialogue with President Mnangagwa if his arrested members are released. The dialogue would rather be shelved than pnder to the whims of an opposition leader who superintends over the destruction of the lives and livelihoods of people as well as the economy. It could as well be held in abeyance instead of following the warped wishes of a rogue lawyer, pastor and politician who preaches the rule of law by day but practises death, destruction and damage by night.