By Sunday Oyinloye
Opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa has written his country men and women telling them to be wary of the antics of the ruling ZANU -PF and their agents masquerading as opposition, stressing that the “fog will soon clear” even as says the system over which the ruling party presides is serving a minority of elites who occupy vantage positions within and around the state, “while most Zimbabweans are condemned to suffering.”
The President of MDC- Alliance who chronicled his political journey which started in his college days says though the journey has been grueling, he was never under any illusion that it would be easy.
In the letter, a copy of which was made available to Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable, Chamisa argued that Zimbabweans cannot afford to give up on their dream of achieving, a peaceful and prosperous nation where justice and equity will prevail.
In his words “We have lost thousands of cadres along the way, including our founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai who departed in February 2018. I was privileged to have a special relationship with him and from him, I learned a lot under his leadership and guidance.
“The most painful losses have been those suffered at the hands of the state, through violence. We cannot betray the memory of these dearly departed cadres. We must honour their dreams and aspirations for a better Zimbabwe; otherwise, they would have died in vain. This is why I have never veered from the course that was set in 1999”.
He however, commended the youths of his country for their struggles for true democracy and advised them to remain vigilant against the antics of the ruling party.
“One of the things that please me a lot is seeing a younger generation coming up and carrying the torch in politics. This is how strong institutions grow and I want to pay special tribute to the young people of Zimbabwe whose political consciousness is growing.” he said
According to him “ZANU- PF has never been comfortable with strong opposition. They aim to build an opposition that they control. This is the sole purpose of the project that they have moulded with our erstwhile colleagues. These were deliberate acts of provocation, designed to lure us into conduct that would justify violent repression during the pandemic.
“We have remained calm and resolute, not because we are unable to respond, but because we know the game they are playing. We also remain true to our founding principle: we are committed to achieving change through peaceful and non-violent means. We have remained composed because we are confident that progressive fellow Zimbabweans are solidly behind us.
“We know this because of all the love, support, and encouragement that they have shown us during these testing times. We trust the gift of discernment that is given to Zimbabweans, which enables them to distinguish between right and wrong. They can tell when a bully is abusing power and they know how to punish this abusive behaviour, which punishment will be exacted through the ballot box.
“Specifically, Zimbabweans can tell the difference between genuine opposition that is challenging repression and enablers who are aiding and abetting repression. This is not the first time that the people of Zimbabwe have encountered this situation. During the last days of colonialism, the Smith regime tried to hoodwink people by promoting people like Bishop Abel Muzorewa, ahead of the true nationalists who were fighting repression.
“Smith preferred the likes of Muzorewa because they were lackeys who would do his bidding while Muzorewa and others were eager to join the gravy train to serve their interests. However, the people of Zimbabwe saw through this elaborate ruse and rejected it.
“This may have happened over 40 years ago, but history has an uncanny habit of repeating itself. Zimbabweans can tell who is genuine and who is not, by the way, the ZANU PF regime treats them. They can distinguish between the true and fake opposition by the way the repressive regime deals with them.
“ZANU PF’s preference for its surrogate at the expense of the MDC Alliance is an obvious giveaway. They will gang up against us, throwing brickbats at us from their unholy alliance. We are not moved, and we remain resolute and focused. We are even more emboldened. We are stronger and more resilient”
The opposition leader promised to be communicating with Zimbabweans more regularly this year.
“I shall be communicating with Zimbabweans more regularly this year, sharing our agenda and programs. There is so much to do and a lot of energy and commitment to do it. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a deadly second wave of the COVID19 pandemic.
“Common sense behoves us to treat the pandemic with an extraordinary sense of vigilance and in this regard, to do everything necessary to keep it at bay. This means we have had to suspend most of our programs. It can’t be business as usual. The lives of all Zimbabweans matter.
“Let us continue to pray that things get better for us and the rest of the world. We want to work with everyone to ensure that we get the vaccines and other support that we need to safeguard our communities. I know that the lockdown is extremely hard for many people.
“Ours is now largely an informal economy and when people are stopped from working, they have no means of earning income. If it were up to us, we would have offered more creative ways to support people during this difficult time.
“We would also have done more to support our frontline workers in the healthcare sector who are in harm’s way as they carry out an important national duty. The billions that are lost through corruption and patronage can go a long way to support our healthcare sector which was already in bad shape long before the pandemic. Our people are paying the price of high level incompetence over the years.” he said
Chamisa reassures his party members that “the MDC- Alliance remains solid, undaunted, and emboldened.
“I would like to thank you for your continued support and encouragement even as we have been attacked from all directions by the regime and its enablers. These enablers will present themselves as the opposition’s opposition. You know that they are not genuinely the alternative. You know that they have relied on the abuse of state institutions to steal from us – your MPs, councillors, money, and party property – and in doing so, they have undermined trust in politics.
“But you also know that there are some things that the repressive state and its surrogates can neither command nor steal: your loyalty and support. They cannot force you to support what you disagree with. They cannot command you to divert your loyalties.
“I am personally humbled by the knowledge that you have trusted us with these precious gifts, and I re-emphasize my commitment to honour and respect them. Do not be perturbed by the fog they have created because it will soon clear”.