By Tafara Shumba
The invitation of MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa and his party deputy chairperson, Tendai Biti to give testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 incident did not help the commission much.
The duo is among the several MDC officials who are alleged to have inflamed supporters into the fatal demonstrations that left six people dead in Harare. Chamisa disowned the demonstrators and even deemed them stupid for demonstrating against the results that were to be announced. During his testimony, Chamisa insisted that the demonstrators were not his supporters but at the same time he blew his own horn claiming that there is a 98 percent probability of hitting an MDC supporter if one throws a stone in Harare. It does not add up unless he believes that the demonstrators were bussed from Uzumba and Maramba Pfungwe.
Chamisa’s disavowal of supporters during trying times is likely to impact adversely on the looming demonstrations especially the hyped November 29 demo. Of course it will be full-blown insanity to partake in a futile demo in which you will bear the blame thereafter even to an extent of being labelled stupid. However, the demonstration will provide an opportunity for the foreign commissioners to have a feel of what the MDC demo looks like.
Chamisa conflated the enquiry proceedings to a rally where he usually makes utterances with abandon. He insisted that he won the July 30 elections despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling against his victory claim. That also raises issues of integrity considering that his status as lawyer that makes him an officer of the court who must uphold constitutionalism. He has been blaming Zanu PF for the same reason. He must espouse constitutionalism that he wants others to uphold. He cannot continue to claim victory when the highest court of the land has ruled that he lost. He probably mistook the Commission for an appeal court against the ConCourt ruling.
The MDC leader lied with a straight face before the Commission. He has a twin calling. He is a politician as well as a pastor but the man of God could have probably forgotten the latter. He even denied statements that he uttered at rallies, the same way he repudiated, during an interview with the BBC’s Steven Sucker that he never claimed to have met Donald Trump and being promised $15 billion. The footprint of his claim followed on social media after his denial and very soon the ‘V11’ will be awash on social media exposing his lies.
The public was subjected to theatrics and mind-numbing history lectures with no relevance to the inquiry at stake. The narration of perceived history of violence within Zanu PF since its inception does not help the Commission in dealing with the issue at hand. Zanu PF changed hands in November 2017 and the new drivers are a peace-loving lot. They have opened up democratic space which the opposition is abusing. That history is firmly behind the revolutionary party.
Ironically, in MDC, thugocracy (to borrow Chamisa’s term) did not die with Morgan Tsvangirai. Examples are awash when members of that party fell victim to instruments of violence in that party. It was sad to hear a whole pastor telling the world that the belligerent Vanguard was a well-ordered group of youths. One wonders why he disbanded that group if it was indeed a group of disciplined youths. If truth be said, the Vanguard was the equivalent of Jim Kunaka’s Chipangano. The latter died with the extinction of its architects whom Chamisa has unfortunately provided with a new home. They say birds of the same feathers flock together. Although the Vanguard is said to have been disbanded, the authors still control the levers of power in that party. You can take the monkey out of the bush but you cannot take the bush out of the monkey.
Chamisa was equivocating the whole time. He skirted questions from Commissioners, hiding behind his eloquence. He talked about freedom to vote which he said Zanu was denying members of his party. It needs to be said over and over again that Chamisa is a Man of God who must practise what he preaches. Councillors voted for their preferred mayors but that vote was subverted. Several mayors were denied their sweet victories after they were recalled by none other than the so-called preacher of democracy.
He accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa of thwarting his presidential dreams. He needs to be reminded that he is frustrating Douglas Mwonzora and Elias Mudzuri’s presidential dreams. The duo’s lives are even in danger, the crime being their ambition to challenge Chamisa, who himself undemocratically grabbed the presidency. He would do better if he upholds the democratic principles he so generously prescribes to others.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.