By Nicole Hondo
On April 23, 2018 MDC Alliance presidential candidate and MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa, claimed his party had unearthed Zanu-PF’s alleged election rigging machinery and was now confident of an outright victory in the upcoming elections. Chamisa told supporters at Ruwangwe Business Centre in Nyanga North that there would be no need for a re-run as he would score no less than 70 percent of the votes in the first round of the polls.
On May 12, Chamisa told MDC-T supporters in Buhera that disgruntled members within Zanu-PF had given him a dossier on how the ruling party allegedly rigs elections. Again, he told his supporters not to worry as he had the elections bagged.
Less than a month later and following a series of local and international gaffes that exposed him as a shallow and still a green politician, Chamisa is now singing a different tune, vowing to “shut down Harare” because the electoral field is allegedly not even.
It would appear the proclamation of July 30 as the election date threw Chamisa into a panic and sucked away all his bravado, because the excuses being given by his party and a collection of ragtag political spent forces under the banner of the MDC Alliance are at best petty.
First, the MDC Alliance is demanding to be availed a copy of the voters’ roll immediately, a demand which has already been addressed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
ZEC chairwoman Justice Priscilla Chigumba, on May 30, told journalists that the voters’ roll would be available a few days before the sitting of the Nomination Court and would also be available to successful candidates at the Nomination Court free of charge. It therefore makes no sense that the Alliance is throwing a tantrum demanding to see a voters’ roll which is still being compiled and would be made available anyway in less than two weeks.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on February 26, Justice Chigumba explained that when she assumed office, she inspected the list of ZEC employees and found that the commission had less than 15 percent of employees who were formerly with the military.
“ZEC policy is that we are not precluded from employing former military members, provided that they are retired and not active. We have less than 15 percent of those, but yes they are in the ZEC, but I would hasten to add that a lot of those former military personnel retired from their institutions five, six, seven years ago. I have gone through their files and satisfied myself that these are no longer serving members now,” she said then.
Third, the Alliance claims that villages countrywide are militarised, a claim based solely on social media rumours. No one from the Alliance has come forward to back up their claim with hard proof. This writer has one question, if the villages are militarised, how has it been able to freely hold rallies there and attract the bumper crowds they always brag about on social media? Or is it Photoshop?
Last, the claim that the Alliance is being denied coverage in the public media is ludicrous. It is obvious that the Alliance principals want the public media to adopt a “hear no evil see no evil” approach in its coverage of their activities.
What is evident is that with the elections fast approaching, it is dawning on Chamisa and his Alliance partners that they will not win the elections.
The Alliance, for all its hype, has up to now, two months before the crucial elections, failed to produce the most basic of campaign strategy, an election manifesto, a development which has left Chamisa throwing around self-defeating hyperboles at the countless rallies he has held countrywide.
Instead of articulating how exactly they plan to deliver the bottled smoke they are promising Zimbabweans, Chamisa is talking of impractical bullet trains. Instead of addressing immediate bread and butter issues, Chamisa is promising to build airports at every person’s house if he gets into power.
His international forays have also not yielded any positives for him as he recently came back from an ill-advised UK trip tail between the legs after being exposed on the BBC Hardtalk programme as a liar.
This was after he had accused the UK government of “favouring” Zanu-PF at the expense of other political parties.
The catastrophic series of events that have befallen Chamisa and the MDC Alliance over the past few months, contrasted with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regional and international endorsement, successful rallies, as well as a resurgent Zanu-PF, explain why the brash Chamisa is now clamouring for a demonstration, claiming that Zanu-PF plans to rig the elections.
What happened to the claims of having been given a dossier of how zanu-pf rigs elections and having foiled the plans?
What happened to the bombastic pledge that if President Mnangagwa manages to get even 5 percent of the total vote, Chamisa would give him his sister, indeed where is the MDC Alliance manifesto?
The planned demonstration by the MDC Alliance is the clearest indication yet that after all their calculations and projections (presumably done by Tendai Biti), the Alliance has realised that it does not stand a chance of winning the forthcoming elections, hence it is laying the groundwork to excuse what is an imminent electoral defeat.