HARARE – The MDC yesterday said it feared for the life of its leader Nelson Chamisa, whom it claimed had narrowly escaped kidnapping by suspected State security agents over the weekend.
But the government has robustly dismissed the Saturday incident as nothing more than “a mere road rage” matter.
Addressing journalists at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of harbouring intentions to eliminate Chamisa via an orchestrated accident — and then go on to blame this on his drivers recklessness.
Mafume also alleged that Chamisa had been placed on a “sinister” 24-hour surveillance by State agents, thereby putting the 40 year-old opposition leader’s life in danger.
“It is sinister in that the surveillance is being done in a manner that endangers the life of the president (Chamisa).
“They follow his motorcade at extraordinarily high speeds. They interfere with the vehicles in his motorcade and at times they almost run him off the road in blatant violation of road rules.
“We are certain the intention is to cause an accident and then accuse his drivers of negligence,” Mafume said.
This comes amid MDC claims that there were attempts to abduct Chamisa as he was coming from Marondera at the weekend, where he had gone to address a rally at Rudhaka Stadium.
It is alleged that suspected security agents tried to block Chamisa’s motorcade and to seize him in Harare’s Mabvuku suburb.
However, the government has wholly dismissed the allegations of an attempted abduction as “baseless”.
“Reports filed by the police indicate that some people were coming from Marondera driving behind what they later realised was … Chamisa’s convoy.
“Suddenly, the convoy stopped and blocked them from overtaking. They were aggressively confronted and manhandled by members of … Chamisa’s entourage including …
Chamisa who lobbed himself at the back seat of their vehicle, punching and scratching,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a statement.
However, the MDC insisted yesterday that there was “a continuous threat to … Chamisa’s life”.
“The concerns about Chamisa’s security extend not only to him, but also to his family and other senior leaders in the party,” Mafume said further.
He also claimed that in Saturday’s incident, the suspected State agents had allegedly been armed with “sophisticated high-tech communication gadgets”.
“They followed his motorcade from Marondera and when the security realised that they were being followed, as per their protocol, they deliberately drove into Ruwa to stave off the followers, who doggedly kept on their tail.
“The president’s motorcade then returned to the highway, turned into Mabvuku and drove to the police station where a report was made,” he said.
Chamisa narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the hotly-disputed July 30 election, and went on to accuse the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of manipulating the results in favour of the Zanu PF leader.
However, Mnangagwa’s victory was upheld by the Constitutional Court which ruled that Chamisa had failed to provide evidence that he had won the election.
Meanwhile, many people — including MDC supporters — have regularly bemoaned the overzealousness and unnecessary heavy-handed approach of Chamisa’s private security details to their work.