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Oh Yes Mamombe And Majome As Women Can Think For Themselves

Oh Yes Mamombe And Majome As Women Can Think For Themselves

Whitlaw Tanyanyiwa Mugwinji

Whitlaw Tanyanyiwa Mugwinji | When Fadzai Mahere expressed her desire to stand as an independent candidate, many people accused her of being used by Zanu PF to split the opposition vote. Having listened to the people’s concerns, we are told that she send letters to all the big parties in the opposition. Perhaps, as an overture for future talks. With that, many including myself, thought Fadzai was so full of herself. Did she seriously expect political parties to kowtow to her whims? No self-respecting party could do that and still keep its dignity intact. If an individual wants to represent a party at elections or influence its direction, then one must become a member. It is as simple as that.

Joana Mamombe

Joana Mamombe :Photo credit to Toril Sunde Apelthun

At least I thought, but now the case of Joana Mamombe forces me to think otherwise. About two weeks ago, Joana raised furore on social media by merely expressing intention to contest the MDC Harare West primary elections. She was insulted, her name soiled, all in a bid to disparage her candidacy.

What can a young female politician do in this great republic of ours? Running as an independent candidate, they condemn her. Contesting primary elections, they condemn her. Focusing on her private and social life, they accuse her of indifference. Damned if she does and damned if she does not. Surely, we cannot pretend not to know why few women are running for public office.

But as they say, every dark cloud has a silver lining. I am happy that this unfortunate debate has brought to the fore, uncomfortable but yet very necessary discussions. In this article, I will restrict my discussions to only but three issues. Due to this limited space, I will not be able to do justice to these issues, but I hope I will be able to incite further discussions.

Women can think on their own

The contest between Jessie Majome and Joana Mamombe was supposed to be very exciting. For it is a contest between two brilliant female comrades. A contest between the mature tried and tested and the young, vibrant and promising. But alas, the debate has turned into a shame. Comrades  who I regard as progressive have turned misogynistic in their bid to defend their preferred candidate.

Jessie Majome

          Jessie Ruvimbo Majome

Yes, taking away Joana Mamombe‘s agency and accusing her of being used, is misogyny. She is a very capable young woman who is more than able to make decisions on her own. Additionally, several young male politicians within the MDC family are contesting in primary elections, yet none of them has been subjected to this scrutiny and attack.

People are not asking them to go and contest in rural constituencies. Nor are people accusing them of sleeping with someone powerful. Why do we treat women differently? Why do we assume women have no agency? In this day and age, we must know by now, that women can think and take initiative on their own.

During the online discussions, some people even suggested that Joana must support Majome. I always wonder why people expect female politicians to be a homogeneous group. There is absolutely no difference between female and male politicians. No one expects Obert Gutu to support Chamisasimply on the basis that they are both males. Thus, it is equally folly to expect Joana to support Majome simply because they share the same sex. We must respect Joana’s decision to contest just as much as we respected Majome when she did not follow Khupe.  As I pointed out in another article, we must resist patriarchy by all means. For it thinks that women and especially young women, are incapable of handling power and responsibility. As they say, there is power in repetition. Therefore,  without fear of sounding like a broken record, I will repeat myself. Women can think and take initiative on their own.

Who has the right to decide

Mcdonald Lewanika the director of Crisis Coalition, commenting on his Facebook post two weeks ago, raised a very pertinent question. He asked, ‘who has the right to decide’? Is it the party, the party structures, residents from the constituency or people who neither reside in the constituency nor are members of the party?

There are diverse opinions on the matter. But, we can exclude the last option, people who neither reside in the constituency nor are members of the party have no locus standi on the matter. This is not to say that they cannot express their opinions. They are merely opinions and must be treated just as such. Personally, I am a firm believer in grassroots politics. Local party representatives must be accountable to the local party membership. And in turn the local party membership must reflect the broader local society.

Alex Magaisa is of the contrary view. I hope that I understood him well, in one of his Facebook posts. He said, “a mature party does not risk the careers of its experienced MPs in the name of democracy”. In other words, the party must guide the democratic processes. Retain certain MPs, even against the wishes of the local membership. Not only is this top down and undemocratic but it goes even further to assume that the local membership does not know what is best for itself. It is very elitist and I pray and hope the party will never go this route. Otherwise the people’s party might be captured by an elite cabal.

Alternatively, the party can abandon primary elections all together. Instead, they can just compile a list of members who will represent the party in elections. This system too, assumes that the local membership is ignorant. I would support the part list system if the public were to vote for a political party and not an individual. This, I am sure would increase the representation of diverse voices in our parliament. Furthermore, it would make it easier to raise the number of women in parliament. However, that said, I think it would be unwise to adopt this system under our current political system.

You cannot change rules midway through a game

The central theme in Morgan Tsvangirai‘s call for democracy was institutional reform. And I want to believe that rules and regulations are at the heart of institutional reform. The party has laid down rules and regulations for conducting primary elections. Therefore, members cannot make objections once the process has begun. More so, when the objections and concerns have nothing to do with the process itself.

No matter how much we may prefer certain candidates to others, primary elections must take their full course. The party cannot change its rules and regulations midway through the primary elections process.

Aluta continua and may the best candidate win.

Dear Dambudzo Emmerson Mnangagwa

Dear Dambudzo Emmerson Mnangagwa

Dear Dambudzo,

I hope I find you well. As for me, the usual stuff. Hustling to make ends meet.

I write to you concerning your participation in the forthcoming general elections as the ZANU PF presidential candidate.

This election, to me, is beyond promising to fix potholes, fix the economy or raising hopes of Zimbabweans through signing empty mega deals. Personally, in respect to your pronouncements of a new era (which are I am still to experience) this election provides an opportunity for Zimbabwe to nurse her ugly wounds, wounds inflicted on her by your party in the past 38 years with Bob in control and you as his most loyal and trusted son. You served him with distinction and honour in silencing and purging those that threatened his grip to power. This election is a pathway for those with trauma from Murambatsvina, Gukurahundi, 2008 elections to be rehabilitated. It provides an opportunity for broken families resulting from ZANU PF’s bad governance to be fixed. This election possibly presents a pathway to a true reconciliation process that will provide justice to victims of gross human rights abuses. Many have been battered, bruised and tortured at the hands of your government in the past 38 years.

Honestly we both know that you cannot lead a genuine process that will address the crimes that occurred in the past 38 years. Your rise to power is pinned on the entitlement you hold. No other person served Bob more than you did in his 38 years at the helm of Zimbabwe. Mugabe and ZANU PF represent everything wrong and broken in our society which this election seeks to address using constitutional means. I wonder how, you being an integral member of Mugabe’s regime, can be exonerated from this mess.

You have said several times that let ‘bygones be bygones’. Really? At one time I thought you were misquoted. But then I thought you meant let ‘Baygon be Baygon’. This will make sense coming from you given your love for pesticides. You once prescribed DDT in Matebeleland. Parquet was used again on members of the opposition on the June 2008 run off you take credit in engineering to save your Godfather Bob.

Many lost limbs, loved ones and bread winners at the hands of your party. Take time to reflect what that ‘bygones be bygones’ mean to victims of your party’s bad governance of the past 4 decades. Take time to reflect what ‘bygone be bygones’ means to those whose dreams were shattered as you held on to power by whatever means necessary. Just in the few days after being expelled from government I hear that your friends were even now preparing dockets to prosecute you on charges including corruption and attempted murder. You being a lawyer should better understand how the justice system works. It cant!

Do the right thing. Tell Zimbabwe what happened in the last 38 years. Apologise to Zimbabwe and the victims of your deeds and association with ZANU PF. Above all choose decency. Resign, go home and pray that in a new Zimbabwe the victims of ZANU PF’s dictatorship which you helped to sustain will see it fit to pardon and forgive you.

ED, take time to introspect. Your way of politics cannot be part of what this election seeks to establish for Zimbabwe.

On a lighter note just drop the scarf, it is awful.

Hoping for your favourable reply.

Regards

Wellington Mahohoma

Judge Reserves Judgement In Khupe Case

Judge Reserves Judgement In Khupe Case

A High Court judge in Bulawayo has reportedly reserved judgment to next week on whether or not to accept as an urgent application the matter in which the MDC T is seeking an interim order to bar expelled Thokozani Khupe from using the party name and logo.

The Adv Nelson Chamisa led MDC-T last month fired Thokozani Khupe together with her two allies Mr Abednigo Bhebhe and Mr Obert Gutu, following a national council meeting resolutions.

 Prior to his dismissal, Mr Bhebhe was the party’s national organising secretary while Mr Gutu held the post of national party spokesperson.

Adv Chamisa lawyers Atherstone and Cook Legal Practitioners, filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court citing Dr Khupe, Mr Bhebhe and Mr Gutu, as respondents.

Adv Chamisa is seeking an order stopping the respondents from “unlawfully exploiting and abusing its registered MDC-T trademark, symbols and signs.”

In his founding affidavit, MDC-T acting chairperson Mr Morgen Komichi said: “This is an application for an order interdicting the respondents from unlawfully using the applicant’s name in the pursuit of their political agenda and infringing on registered trademarks. The respondents were dismissed as members and office bearers of the party on 23 March 2018”.

Mr Komichi said Dr Khupe and her allies were causing confusion and misleading MDC-T followers by continuing to use the party trademark, symbols and signs. “Notwithstanding the dismissal, which effectively terminated their membership, the respondents have, in common purpose, purported to present themselves as not only MDC-T members, but office bearers thereof and thereby causing a lot of confusion amongst party supporters,” he said.

“MDC-T is our name and is our own property. We have past experience on this issue, some tried to do it previously and you know what happened. We are going to approach the courts when the right time comes,” Mr Komichi said.

Tendai Biti Rocks Makoni West As MDC Alliance Rural Outreach Intensifies

Tendai Biti Rocks Makoni West As MDC Alliance Rural Outreach Intensifies

MDC Principal Tendai Biti left the people of Makoni West invigorated when he delivered a thunderous speech that focused on what an MDC Alliance government would mean for a new Zimbabwe. Biti was dispatched to Matsika Rural Service Center  , Makoni West in Manicaland to deliver an assurance to the people that the Alliance was the best alternative for a prosperous Zimbabwe.

People thronged the usually sleepy area as early as  8am. They were coming as far off as Chigora, Dumba, Chidamunyu just to hear the message of change. Many still have vivid memories of the rally by Dr Morgan Tsvangirai at this very place in 2015. The meeting started by a minute of silence in remembrance of the iconic leader.

Tendai Biti then took to the podium to address issues related to fear. He pointed out the scars that people carried because of the reign of terror that was perpetrated by the likes of Didymus Mutasa in this constituency. He thanked people for being strong and persistent against all odds. He then implored people to pull stronger as the finishing line is now in sight.

Biti touched on the issues of the economy, speaking about MDC Allaince’s plans to revamp the economy which include increasing domestic production while re-integrating the country with the global economy. He talked about investor confidence and how money follows good governance. For the people of Makoni he spoke about how a boisterous economy means more opportunity for Jobs, more markets for produce and higher income from sales. He spoke about the need to improve roads,  postal and telecommunications services so that Zimbabweans can begin to do more businesses amongst themselves.

People interviewed at the rally expressed hope and optimism but most fear that the history of rigging and manipulation might happen again.

Part of the crowd at Chitsika

Mt Darwin Warms Up To The MDC Alliance As Mpariwa Waters The Seeds Of Change

Mt Darwin Warms Up To The MDC Alliance As Mpariwa Waters The Seeds Of Change

MDC Deputy Secretary General Pauline Mpariwa today led a delegation to Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central.  This is another area that has witnessed high cases of intimidation and violence against opposition supporters. In this foray the Mpariwa delegation had one objective – to assure people that the Alliance has their best interest at heart and is at hand to represent them in good and bad times.

People began trickling to the venue just before 10am, many from the surrounding rural areas. Fear is still a major factor as most people who were at the rally spoke about how much caution they had to exercise before attending. There is still major uncertainty over the motives of the currently government. Some think it is just the calm before the storm. They still remember the violence of 2008.

Madam Mpariwa then addressed the gathering and touched on a number of policy issues that would have a direct bearing on the people of Mt Darwin. She spoke about the state of Education in the district. She noted the miserable state of schools in Kaitano, Chiwande ,Mukumbura, Katarira and Chisecha which have on average just 3 trained teachers. She spoke about how MDC would revamp the prestige of the education system in Zimbabwe by training, equipping and remunerating teachers well while revamping the school infrastructure.

Healthcare is another major issue in the area as most of the Rural clinics are understaffed. She listened to harrowing stories of neglect by the central government. Kamutsenzere Clinic , Mutasa Clinic , Nembire Clinic, Dotito RHC Clinic , Pachanza Clinic are all understaffed and sometimes go for months without essential medicines. She then assured the people that MDC government will not only seek to improve the clinics but that everything also depended on how the party would handle the economy.

She spoke about how it is necessary to revamp the road networks so that villagers can quickly get their produce to market. A good economy would also help people access capital for their projects which she said MDC will have a keen interest in establishing economic zones and assisting Small Scale Entrepreneurs to develop and grow.

She ended by encouraging people to be vigilant and register to vote.

Jacob Ngarivhume Shakes The Ground At Magunje Growth Point

Jacob Ngarivhume Shakes The Ground At Magunje Growth Point

Jacob Ngarivhume today led the campaign in the deep parts of Mashonaland West in areas that previously were considered no-go-areas for the opposition. People trickled in from Magunje and surrounding areas to witness for themselves the progression of the change project.

The atmosphere was electric, the mood on-point and the enthusiasm was roof-shattering. Those whom we interviewed were pointing out that this was the first time they have had to come out and attend a rally without the fear of being beaten or teargassed.

There was group of first-time voters who had time to meet with Mr Ngarivhume and spoke about their hopes and wishes.

Top on their wish-list was Jobs. There is high unemployment in Mashonaland West just like all the other parts of the country. Mr Ngarivhume then addressed them pointing to the policies that MDC Alliance will pursue to get Zimbabwe working again.

He spoke about fixing the land tenure issues so that people could begin to access lines of capital and get the land producing for the country with some semblance of certainty.

He also talked about MDC’s intention to rehabilitate and improve the transport systems so that markets can be opened for Magunje, Karoi and other parts of the country. People should be able to sell anywhere in the country conveniently and timely.

J

 

National Council fires VP Khupe and two senior leaders

National Council fires VP Khupe and two senior leaders

The MDC National Council, the Supreme-decision-making body in between Congresses met today deliberated on key issues affecting the party. After seven hours of deliberations, the National Council made the following resolutions.

1. The national council noted and acknowledged the fact that the party has positively rebranded, is renewing and positively re-energized its base and its organs as testified by the continued affirmation and reinvigoration of its national strength and dominance; the evidence of which is the hugely successful programmes where Zimbabweans at all levels are participating in highly encouraging numbers. The people’s party of excellence has confirmed itself as a revolutionary, democratic and patriotic movement ready to provide national leadership.

2. On the issue of candidate selection for the watershed 2018 election, the National Council has received all Applications and CVs from the provinces and districts. The process of candidate selection has kicked off in earnest and all candidates will be in place by end of April.

3. The national council resolved that intercession prayers for the party, the party leadership and all the people of Zimbabwe be held at the party’s headquarters at Morgan Tsvangirai House and at every party provincial office every Monday and Friday until after the elections.

4. On the unconstitutional behavior and illegal meetings by the party’s senior leaders which threw the party into disrepute, the party made the following resolutions:

a. On VP Khupe, the national council noted the efforts for engagement made by the party President and the fact that VP Khupe remained stubborn, obdurate, intransigent and spurned all party efforts to address her grievances as she continued to hold illegal meetings and partake in unconstitutional activities, putting the party into disrepute and undermining the constitutional organs of the party. The national council therefore resolved, by more than the mandatory two thirds of the vote that VP Khupe be removed from the party in terms of the party constitution.

b. On National Chairperson Lovemore Moyo, the national council formally accepted the resignation from the party by the national chairman Mr Lovemore Ndodana Moyo which he has tendered to the leadership. The council wished him well in all his future endeavors.

c. On organizing secretary Hon. Abednigo Bhebhe, the national council by the more than the mandatory two thirds of the vote resolved to remove him from the party on allegations of his unconstitutional behavior and for continuously putting the party into disrepute.

d. On suspended party spokesperson Mr. Obert Chaurura Gutu, the national council resolved by a unanimous vote to expel suspended party spokesperson Mr Obert Chaurura Gutu.

e. The national council further resolved that those leaders that have ceased to be members of the party but who are in Parliament, in particular VP Khupe and Organizing Secretary Abednigo Bhebhe, be recalled with immediate effect.

f. The party further resolved to communicate these latest developments in the party to all stakeholders including, but not limited to, the government of Zimbabwe, the parliament of Zimbabwe, civic society, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the diplomatic community and all party organs and structures.

Hon. Morgen Komichi
Deputy National Chairperson

MDC Alliance leadership meets EU Observers

MDC Alliance leadership meets EU Observers

MDC-T President and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Adv. Nelson Chamisa, Alliance partners and senior leaders of the party today met the eight-member European Union Electoral Preparatory Team at the party headquarters at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in Harare.

The EU team wanted to appreciate the MDC Alliance’s position around the conditions in the country ahead of the watershed elections due in the country in a few months time.

Conferring together

Adv. Chamisa said the MDC-T and the MDC Alliance had prepared comprehensive list of demands that would ensure a free, fair and credible election in Zimbabwe. He said the demands were enshrined in the MDC Alliance’s Plan and Environment and Credible Election (PEACE) that will be launched in Harare today.

He said he had also written to President Mnangagwa and was willing to engage him on the issues but on an equal footing since Mr.  Mnangagwa was also a candidate.

The people’s President raised the issue of the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, against the disturbing background of the curious and unexplained resignation of both the chairperson and the chief elections officer of the electoral management body.

He said it was a serious and vicious assault on the integrity and autonomy of ZEC that the electoral management body’s new chairperson had undertaken a trip to Russia with a politburo member of Zanu PF and advisor to one of the candidates in the forthcoming election.

The Alliance leadership outlined the 10 demands in the MDC Alliance’s PEACE in Zimbabwe document, which he said the Alliance wanted responded to ahead of the next election.

The issues include but are not limited to the role of the military in Zimbabwe’s elections, the independence of ZEC, 40 percent of whose secretariat are either serving or retired members of the military, impartiality and free and equal coverage of all contesting parties by the public broadcaster, legislative reforms covering the Electoral Act, the Public Order and Security Act as well as the Access to Information and Privacy  Act, which he said proscribed fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly. He also spoke about the need for all contesting parties to audit the voters roll and the need to stem violence and intimidation so that the sovereign expression of the people is not curtailed.

President Chamisa added that the firm printing the ballot paper needs to be agreed to by all contesting parties as well the auditing of the quality of that paper. He said the issues of the voters roll and the ballot paper were deal breakers, emphasizing that there will not be an election in the absence of an agreement on those important matters.

The party’s leadership restated that the government had already rejected some of the key demands that relate to the printing of the ballot, the audit of the voters roll, adding that there was need for regional, AU and broader international pressure in that regard.
The leadership said there was need to ensure that Zimbabwe’s election complies with regional, continental international instruments including the AU and the SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections as well s international best practice.


The leadership said more than four million Zimbabweans would be disenfranchised if the government continued to disallow the Diaspora vote on the basis of logistical challenges, despite the fact that every Zimbabwean has the right to vote under the new Constitution of the country.

President Chamisa was accompanied into the meeting by MDC Alliance principals or their representatives, senior members of the MDC-T.

Luke Tamborinyoka
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications

Party leadership meet SADC observer team

Party leadership meet SADC observer team

President Nelson Chamisa and nine other national standing committee members today held a two-hour briefing with the seven-member SADC Electoral Advisory Council at the party’s headquarters ahead of the watershed polls due in a few months time.

President Chamisa told the delegation, led by Advocate Leshele Thoahlane, that the Zimbabwe government has not been sincere on its commitment to a free, fair and credible plebicite as it had not yet made public in substantive terms the roadmap to the next election. He bemoaned the fact that the recommendations made by SADC in the 2013 election in terms of the implementation of key reforms had not yet been done, among them media reforms that would ensure equal coverage of all contesting parties.

Accompanying President Chamisa was Vice President Hon. Engineer Elias mudzuri, Secretary-general Mr. Douglas Mwonzora, secretary for elections Hon. Murisi Zwizwai, treasurer-general Hon. Theresa Makone, deputy national chairperson Hon Morgan Komichi, youth assembly chairperson Mr. Happymore Chidziva, Women’s assembly chairperson Hon. Karenyi Kore, deputy treasurer general Mr Charlton Hwende, deputy national organizer Hon. Amos Chibaya and senior directors in the party.

The MDC leader raised issues to do with violence, the abuse of traditional leaders, the opaqueness around the printing and auditing of ballots as well as the auditing of the voters roll. With a few months to go before the next election, there was neither agreement nor clarity on these key electoral matters.

President Chamisa implored the SADC observer team to ensure that Zimbabwe complies with the SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections, adding that only a credible plebiscite would ensure a return of confidence and legitimacy in the country.

The party’s secretary general Mr. Douglas Mwonzora said the government had starkly refused to implement key issues that would have assured stakeholders, among them issues to do with the auditing of the voters roll as well as the printing and auditing of the ballot papers, including the identity of the company that would print the ballots.

Notwithstanding the clear Constitutional provision and SADC guidelines on the conduct of elections, the government through the Ministry of Justice has refused allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to exercise their right to vote.

The party also told the SADC observer team that Zimbabweans wanted the army to undo their previous statements that they would not salute a President who did not participate in the liberation struggle by making a clear and unequivocal statement that they will this time respect the sovereign will of the people.

Secretary for Elections Hon. Murisi Zwizwai expressed concern that polling station mapping had been done in a manner that prejudiced the areas perceived to be opposition party strongholds.

Another concern raised to the SADC team was the parlous state of the country’s economy, which made citizens susceptible to the control of Zanu PF through partisan food distribution, among other voter manipulation methods.

President Chamisa urged SADC to be in solidarity with the Zimbabwean citizens and not with the country’s leaders by ensuring that the ordinary people’s sovereign will is guaranteed and protected.

On its part, the SADC team assured the party leadership that they will do all they can to ensure that Zimbabwe holds a truly free, fair and credible poll.

Luke Tamborinyoka
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications

Chamisa charms the heart of the nation

Chamisa charms the heart of the nation

Originally  by Newsday

The MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa juggernaut rolled into the Midlands province over the weekend and charmed the heart of the nation when he sketched in minute detail the incoming government’s policy programme anchored on the tripod legs of transformation, opportunity and prosperity.

The rallies in Kwekwe and Gweru on Saturday and Sunday respectively saw mammoth crowds swarming to hear the MDC Alliance presidential candidate speak on his government’s vision for the country.

Engagement

As he has done in other provinces, Chamisa spent many hours on the side-lines of the two rallies engaging with students, church leaders, people living with disabilities, informal traders, and business leaders, the elderly and artisanal miners.

Chamisa took the opportunity to speak about his vision for the Midlands province, particularly Gweru, which he said will be the administrative capital of his government. He said in line with his vision, Gweru should be the seat of government because of its centrality in the country, housing such key institutions as government offices and Parliament.

He said Harare may remain the commercial capital, Bulawayo as the industrial hub of the country, Victoria Falls as the epicentre of our tourism while Mutare can remain the centre of processing and manufacturing. Chamisa said only spatial development and devolution will ensure that every corner of the country benefits and develops in line with its natural endowments and location.

Radical governance shift

In Kwekwe and Gweru, the incoming president said the new government will cause a radical shift in the governance of the country’s economy, as well as detribalising the names of our provinces to ensure that every Zimbabwean feels they are a full-sledged citizen regardless of where they are.

He spoke about the need for a lean and mean government as well as the need to ensure that government workers are properly remunerated. His government, he said, would restore the dignity of the civil servant, including teachers and health workers who have suffered largely suffered the ignominy of an uncaring government.

He said the country’s police force should will be transformed into a police services unit; a truly professional outfit not given to wantonly showing its brawn by needlessly victimising citizens, including killing them as they did two months ago.
He said the army was a national institution far much above the partisan politics that has it been made to play under the Zanu PF-led government.

Respect for War Veterans and Chiefs

In Kwekwe, Chamisa talked about giving true dignity to the country’s war veterans, adding that the democratic struggle was only aimed at completing the unfinished business of our war of liberation.

The MDC Alliance presidential candidate bemoaned the belittling of chiefs and traditional leaders by the Zanu PF government which had reduced their status to being mujibhas and chimbwidos of the ruling party. He added that the incoming government would raise the $25 monthly allowances given to village heads, which he said did not befit their status and role as the custodians of culture in our society.

Electoral reforms

He said the MDC Alliance would spearhead the fight for electoral reforms by unveiling the Plan and Environment for A Credible Election, a comprehensive set of electoral reform demands that will be unveiled in Harare this week.

 Among the key demands is equal coverage in the public media, a forensic audit of the voters roll as well as an agreement by all stakeholders on the identification of the company that would print the voters roll, including a thorough investigation of the quality of the ballot paper.

It was also befitting that president Chamisa strongly spoke against political violence in Gweru, where the late veteran politician Patrick Kombayi was in 1990 shot six times in the groin by State security agents who were later pardoned by President Robert Mugabe following their conviction by the courts.

National Healing

In his engagements on the side-lines of the two rallies,, the church community called for the incoming government to institute a day of national prayer in its first 100 days in office in order to cleanse the country of the State sponsored atrocities such as Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, as well as the election-related violence of 2008.

Persons living with disability demanded that public buildings be accessible as well as a ministry or a government department specifically dedicated to deal with their issues.

In Gweru at Mutapa Hall, Chamisa took time to interact with the elderly, some of whom demanded restitution from the government for the lost value of their pension following the financial crisis of 2007. They complained about the liquidity crunch, which had resulted in some of them sleeping in bank queues to access their hard-earned money.

In response, Chamisa promised to lead a listening government that would expeditiously respond to the concerns of citizens. He said as an institution, government should have a small mouth and big ears so that it speaks less and listens more.

Student’s concerns

Chamisa, a former student leader himself, travelled down memory lane when he interacted with hundreds of students from Midlands State University and other tertiary institutions Gweru. He promised to reinstate student loans and grants to enable students from disadvantaged families to access education, which he said was a basic human right. He said his new government would guarantee free primary education upon assuming office in September 2018.

The excitement in the Midlands province — the heart of the nation — was palpable when the 40-year-old presidential candidate charmed the huge crowds that turned up for the rallies.

The Chamisa moment currently enveloping the country has seen young people who used to shun political rallies develop a sudden interest in the politics of their country.

As we drove away from the Midlands province in the late afternoon drizzle last Sunday, the deafening din of the now popular chorus at MDC Alliance rallies continued to ring in my ears.

The bellowing lyrics of “Morgan Chamisa Chinhu One” (Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa are one and the same thing) have become the official background track among the huge crowds that continue to revel in rapt wonderment as they eat out of the hand of the 40-year-old orator.

Indeed, there is no distinction between the master and the student; between the icon and his protégé.

The inescapable fact is that Chamisa is hewn from the same unique stone as the late political icon who left his own indelible footprints on the sands of history.

Source: Newsday