Chamisa warned against protests 

Chamisa warned against protests 

Source: Chamisa warned against protests – DailyNews Live

Maxwell Sibanda      27 August 2018

HARARE – MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s plans to roll out protests
in the wake of Friday’s decision by the Constitutional Court (Con-Court)
to uphold President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s hotly-disputed victory in last
month’s polls might spectacularly backfire, social and political analysts
content.

They also believe this action is misdirected and a wrong strategy because
whipping up emotions will not get him to State House, at least for now.

On Saturday, Chamisa told a media briefing: “It is a constitutional option
(demonstrations) and very viable. We have demonstrated two or three times
successfully without any problems. We just want to put mechanisms to make
sure that we don’t have people who come and disrupt our programme. I can
tell you we have the right to demonstrate. This is going to be one of the
routes which we are going to take among others.

“Victory can’t be certain twice, victory was certain before election and
secured during the Election Day. We won, what we are doing now is
protecting that victory; we will continue to pursue democratic means to
make sure that result is respected. We cannot afford five more years in
this kind of hardships, people want answers.”

Chamisa said they are ready to sacrifice their lives in defending people’s
votes.

“They think that perhaps they will intimidate people like myself but I am
dead already, by merely challenging dictatorship you have signed a death
warrant so they can’t kill me twice. We are very clear and we are not
going to be intimidated that’s why we are ready for any eventuality they
can’t run the country by terror.

“The legal door is not the only door to happiness and democracy, there are
many other doors, and the political doors are going to be opened very soon
using our Constitution. We have the right to peaceful demonstrations and
protests that is going to be done in the shortest period of time.”

Political analyst MacDonald Lewanika said if Chamisa wants to fight on, it
is well in his rights to do so, but the consequences of such actions must
find him prepared.

“Politics is also the art of the possible, and at the moment the cake he
says he won’t share with Mnangagwa is actually a cake that he doesn’t have
– he has nothing to share.

“A real danger is that this need for continued resistance will not be
matched by a similar appetite from his supporters and Zimbabweans in
general, who see this presidential fight as lost and would like to move on
to focusing on how to survive under the Zanu PF regime and continuing
economic challenges.

“Zanu PF will push the narrative that he is petty and a sour loser, while
others will see him as an unrepentant fighter for his just desserts.

“At the end of the day it is about Chamisa staying in touch with the pulse
of a people, who are generally not known to be persuaded to the kind of
radical positioning he is pitching.

“Zimbabweans have been known to be risk averse and the likelihood is that
the onward march to challenging the presidential results through mass
action, which has already proved to be not just futile but also fatal,
will be a march that he will make with less and less people.

“History has recorded that Chamisa believes he won the election but was
cheated out of victory, the legal process denied this claim but the court
of public opinion largely agrees with him.

“If I were Chamisa, I would bank the public sympathy and turn it into
future political capital – attempting to spend it now through mass action
will prove to be a waste, and come across as lacking the political
maturity to roll with the punches, taking your hits and living to fight
another day,” said Lewanika.

He added that Zanu PF and its “varakashi” will portray this as intolerance
and a total disrespect of political and democratic processes that Chamisa
entered into willingly and knowing the odds against him.

“It will feed into a bad narrative that Chamisa cannot lose, and believes
that everything but a win for Chamisa is a wrong outcome – such traits are
not attractive and will begin to undermine the formidable political
capital that he had built over the last six months.”

Media and political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the right to protest is
constitutionally-guaranteed and protected.

“As a political strategy the MDC Alliance must however, consider its
effectiveness in achieving the desired end. In my view Chamisa must keep
his power base energised through mobilisation and political awareness.

“The Con-Court case is sufficient basis to seek electoral reforms that
could make the 2023 election far better. Age is on Chamisa’s side and all
he needs are equally capable lieutenants to prepare for the next election.

“The MDC Alliance must use its presence in Parliament to monitor Zanu PF
actions and use its dominance in urban councils to address residents’
issues. Political mobilisation is more sustainable than protests.

Political analyst Piers Pigou said protests are not unexpected tactics in
the circumstances, but they must be tied to a clear strategy that pushes a
reform programme tied to constitutional deficits, realignment,
institutional reform and that holds Mnangagwa to his reform commitments as
laid out in GoZ presentation in DC in April.

“Peaceful protest is important expression, but can Zimbabwe’s security
forces be trusted to act professionally. This is a major worry after
post-election events.

“Mnangagwa says his door is open to Chamisa. He is now president and must
proactively reach out, not sit his hands.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said after running a successful
campaign on a shoe-string budget and “you garner over two million out of
five million votes and for some reason your victory is stolen, and you go
to the nation’s apex court you knew was captured and lost, the logical
thing to do is not mobilising people to oppose a court decision. That will
border on illegality.

“What I would advise Chamisa if I was in his inner-circle is to use
whatever resources and popularity he has now to do the following: quickly
call all party leadership at all levels to a strategic retreat and
genuinely reflect on what happened, where the party did well and areas in
need of improvement, including 2013 lessons not learnt from. Then do a
party elective congress, have a proper leadership structure, formalise a
party name, go to rural and urban areas to set and strengthen structures.
Then start selling your message of alternative policies and approaches to
your supporters first so that they know exactly how different you will be
from the current regime.”

Saungweme said let the mobilisation for an action be bottom-up and not
top-down. “Top-down protests tend to be urban-based and negate the views
and wishes of where the bulk of the voters are – rural areas. “With the
level of organisation shown by the MDC Alliance during polls where they
could not field council and MP candidates in all constituencies and
polling agents at all polling stations, unorganised demonstrations will
not be sustained and will fizzle within a few weeks, if not days, with
blood of the innocent people potentially lost from heavy-handed State
responses.

“Zimbabwe is our home and leaders should be acting in manners that build
national cohesion than dividing us. Look at the November 2017 coup; it was
a Harare thing that did not get buy-in from people in the rural areas,
hence contributed to Mnangagwa’s poor showing in the presidential poll.”

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said: “As human rights activists we do
not prescribe what political strategies political leaders should take save
to note that the route to approach the Con-Court is enshrined in the
Constitution, just like the right to peacefully demonstrate which is
protected by section 59 of the Zimbabwe Constitution.

“Whichever political strategy one pursues, it is important that the rule
of law and human rights are protected in the process. The violence and use
of excessive force by the security forces on August 1 should not happen
again.”

Elections Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini said demonstrations
are a constitutional expression of political rights.

“The decision by the opposition to use such an option in the aftermath of
the decision of the Con-Court is an opportunity for the new administration
to exhibit the respect for the rule of law and protect the Constitution.
The option to demonstrate must also be approached with the necessary
responsibility to abstain from any action that may be deemed as illegal.
Regardless of what options political stakeholders take, Zimbabwe must
definitely find a sustainable way to extricate itself from a cycle of
failed electoral and democratic processes. “All options adopted must put
Zimbabwe first,” said Chimhini.

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said without a doubt it is within Chamisa’s
democratic rights to express himself on both the outcome of the election
and the court.

“This is important in highlighting the reality of captured public
institutions in Zimbabwe and the need for the continuation of the
democratic agenda. Everyone gave the Zec and the courts the benefit of
doubt but these institutions do not seem to have lived up to their duties
satisfactorily. In light of this reality, the Constitution affords
citizens, including the aggrieved MDC Alliance leadership, political
rights to campaign for a cause which their conscience justifies.

“As you can see, the MDC Alliance has taken varied post-election
strategies to put its grievances on the table, including that they will
approach the African Commission for Human and People’s rights to protest
the outcome of the Constitutional Court. Chamisa is right that in all this
struggle, there is need to mobilise and explain to the people how he
thinks they have been shortchanged because in the final calculation the
people matter going forward.”

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    John Dziva 4 years ago

    Chamisa is Right. Action is Needed.

    The writer of the above article is biased against the action that our president, Nelson Chamisa is boldly bringing up. Even the heading is unpalatable. It is useless and futile to prepare for the next elections in 5 years which will be rigged again by Zanu Pf. They have now perfected the art of rigging elections. Surely the best action is to fight for our victory this time which was robbed. All those who are opposing demonstrations, know very well that elections have been rigged, not only now but many of them in the past. We do not want people to die, but if that is the price for Zimbabwe to be free, so be it. Zimbabweans, let us rally behind our MDC Alliance President. Let us support the bold actions that he is proposing. There will be no gain without pain. Many people are dreaming of a very easy life, where we go for elections, we win and we are declared winners and power is smoothly handed to us. Please remember this is Africa. We were reading and hearing of elections being rigged and things not going well in other African countries. Now it’s happening in our own country. President Chamisa, we thank you for your boldness and courage. We definitely must support you. It’s not going to be easy to build Zimbabwe. People, please stop dreaming of power being easily handed over to MDC Alliance. Working together, we will get our Freedom and Independence.