By Sunday Oyinloye
The opposition in Zimbabwe has described as “nonsensical” the claim by the government that it has brought in foreigners to join in the nationwide protests scheduled to begin in Harare this Friday with the aim of toppling the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa .
Police in Zimbabwe had on Sunday alleged that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by its President, Nelson Chamisa had hired some people who participated in Arab spring to help MDC in staging public protests in the country.
But in an exclusive interview with Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable, the President of MDC, Nelson Chamisa dismissed the allegation stressing that the planned nationwide protests was organised solely by Zimbabweans who are tired of “misgovernment , economic hardship , and also unhappy about their stolen mandate”
According to him, the allegation by the government is “absolute hogwash, a big lie and an excuse to justify their violent disposition and their inability to govern and provide solutions to the economic hardship being faced by the people”
Chamisa explained that the there was no reason to invite Arabs or other nationals adding that the planned protests have the blessings of Zimbabweans no matter their political affiliation.
His words: “We did not bring in any foreigner; we don’t need anybody to tell us what to do and what the issues are. The election was stolen, opportunities for Zimbabweans are being stolen, and there is a stolen mandate. These are the issues we are dealing with. We have the democratic rights to protest, it is our fundamental human rights to express ourselves. They can’t force us to be quiet, the protests will hold across the country”
“Why should we bring anyone to help us protest? We didn’t import or bring in anyone to help us in the planned protests. It is a bizarre that the regime will go out of their way to lie to themselves and the whole world. This is what they have been doing. They lie because they are a product of lie; they stole the election, so they can’t stop lying. But as you know, all lies are temporal. They will not go far”.
Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable asked Chamisa whether, MDC will still go ahead with the protest, he said ‘’yes we are going ahead, nobody can stop us from protesting, that is God’s given rights, it is going to be peaceful, we will also put in place Peace Marshals to ensure that everything is peaceful’’
When asked what MDC is trying to achieve with the rally, he said many issues are yet to be resolved “The issue of governance is yet to be resolved through political dialogue and through political reforms, there has to be a roadmap to the resolution of the crisis. There has to be solution to the realization of democracy and legitimacy in this country’’
On whether it’s an MDC thing, Chamisa said the planned protest is bigger than him and his party stressing that it’s about the entire people of Zimbabwe. According to him; “This is not a Chamisa thing, this is not an MDC thing, it’s for the people of Zimbabwe. We want to tell the world that Zimbabwe is burning because of misgovernment and economic hardship, we are in serious problem arising from misgovernment and the issue of legitimacy.”
We also asked the MDC President whether he was not concerned about his security, and he responded thus: “Many people across the globe have suffered in the course of enthroning democracy or fighting for the rights of their people. The people of Zimbabwe are suffering; I will never abandon them for my personal security. I am not scared and the people are not sacred because it’s not about me but about the people”
Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable also asked him whether the planned protest is being sponsored by foreign government. He said “We are not being sponsored by any foreign government; we have solidarity from the whole world but no sponsorship or funding of any kind. We are doing self- funding. We have our own way of funding, ordinary Zimbabweans and workers are funding the struggle, unemployed youths are pooling the meager resources together.’’
To the military and the police, Chamisa said: ‘’peace and love, our struggles are their struggles, their struggles are our struggles, we are one, we are a people that require freedom, prosperity and happiness”
MDC PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT ON THE DEFENCE FORCES DAY
The Defence Fforces Day, is a day set aside to honour the men and women who have dedicated themselves to defend our nation. The defence forces form the backbone of any nation and ours is no exception. Indeed, our national constitution (through Sections 211 and 212) recognises the role and significance of the defence forces in our body politic, in safeguarding our territorial integrity.
Indeed, we salute and duly recognize the unstinting and committed service that our patriotic soldiers continue to render to their beloved country, even under these extremely difficult circumstances .As a nation, we fought a just war of liberation, and the dedication, sacrifice and patriotism of the sons and daughters of this land deserves our veneration and utmost respect.
We are thankful to the men and women in uniform for the sacrifices and service to the nation in fulfilling their constitutional mandate and national duty. Over the years, our defence forces have earned accolades for the work they have performed on international duty, in peace-keeping missions across the world.
We honour them for raising the national flag. They have also done fantastic community work in our rural areas, and their recent efforts in the wake of Cyclone Idai deserve special mention. This indeed is the kind of work that endears the defence forces to the public. Whilst our constitution recognises the key role of the defence forces, it also lays down the foundation for a smooth relationship with other branches of our body politic, setting the boundaries of what they can or cannot do.
This is why we continue to encourage our defence forces to uphold the values of professionalism, respect, forbearance and non-partisanship. We know that the majority of our defence forces are bound and are faithful to their oaths as defenders of the nation. The few who stray beyond the lines of professionalism should never be allowed to taint the entire institution.
This taint can be cleansed by holding to account those who have strayed away from their constitutional prescriptions. Regrettably, we have lost innocent lives in the past year at the hands of such elements. We echo public and international sentiment of accountability for these losses to prevent a culture of impunity and immunity.
Considering the recent killings of civilians on the 1st of August 2018 and around the 15th of January, which has eroded the confidence of our people, I would like to encourage our Defence Forces to swiftly address concerns about impartiality on partisan politics, respect for human rights and subordination to civilian authority as enshrined under our constitution. To this end, I am quite encouraged by the comments made by the National Army Commander, Lieutenant General Edzai Absolom Chanyuka Chimonyo, and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
Both Generals have recently and passionately spoken about the need for a professional, disciplined and non-partisan Defence Force which protects Zimbabwe, its citizens, its national security, its interests, its territorial integrity and more importantly, to uphold the Constitution of the land. We remember with a profound sense of humility the songs of liberation such as Nzira dzemasoja and Tinoda Zimbabwe neupfumi hwayo hwese, great motivational anthems that also constitute a code of conduct for our defence forces.
The core message is: treat the people with respect. When our constitution behooves the defences forces to respect human rights and freedoms, it is merely restating these organic commandments with deep-seated roots. Therefore, as we celebrate and honour the defence forces, we call upon our men and women to uphold, defend and respect the core values that helped our forebears to prosecute the liberation struggle together with and not against the people.
They said they were fish and the people were the water. It was true then and it is true today and always. We know our men and women are not spared by the economic and social challenges that we are facing as a nation. They are our brothers, our sisters, fathers and mothers to some and uncles and aunties to others. They are our brothers and sisters in law to all of us. In short, they are people like us, facing the same darkness when electricity is down, the same anxiety when the new school term begins and there is no money for school fees.
They are, like many of us, breadwinners without the bread; wage earners with eroding wages. When we express ourselves, we are also doing it on their behalf; on behalf of and with their families, friends and neighbours, singing songs of freedom and prosperity that they cannot sing on account of their job.
Poverty, like rain falls upon every roof. However poverty is not a natural phenomenon. Since it is made by humankind, it can be overcome by humankind too, through working together in unison. Going forward, in a truly New Zimbabwe, under our new leadership, we envisage a defence forces that is built on a foundation of meritocracy, patriotism and professionalism, where service, merit and excellence take precedence.
We aspire for a new Zimbabwe in which there is mutual respect between our defence forces and members of the public. In our New Zimbabwe, the military forces will be well-equipped, well-fed and well-remunerated. The relationship between the military and politicians will be characterized by professionalism, progressiveness and non-partisanship, allowing military men and women to flourish and defend the nation with pride.
Politics will guide the gun. The ballot will manage the bullet. In a New Zimbabwe, our military will not be owned or appropriated by any political party. The army is above partisan politics. Our military will be nonpartisan. Our national army is people’s force. We salute men and women in uniform.
You are the pride of the nation. God bless our men and women in uniform.
Let me assure you all about my unwavering support for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and my vision for a great, peaceful and prosperous country for all who live in it. Change that delivers!
Thank you and God Bless You