Mugove Tafirenyika 6 June 2018
HARARE – The National Patriotic Front (NPF) – which has the blessings of
ousted former president Robert Mugabe – yesterday threw its weight behind
the MDC Alliance in its protest march against what it perceives as the
slow pace of electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 vote.
The development came as thousands of MDC Alliance supporters poured into
the capital city’s streets yesterday, demanding urgent steps to make even
the political playing field – currently tilted in favour of Zanu PF.
Alliance members want the forthcoming polls to be conducted in full
compliance with the Constitution, the Electoral Act, the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) principles and guidelines guiding democratic
elections and the African Union (AU) Charter on Democracy, Elections and
A grouping of seven opposition political parties, the alliance intends to
participate in the 2018 harmonised elections under the leadership of
Nelson Chamisa of the main MDC party, formed in 1999.
Giving a solidarity message at the end of the demonstration yesterday, NPF
spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said their party was fully behind Chamisa.
“You all know that our party was formed from the G40 (Generation 40)
faction in Zanu PF and we are saying let the young lead so this is the
time for Chamisa to become president not (Emmerson) Mnangagwa who imposed
himself on the people through a coup. Do not worry about security agents
because we have them in our ranks,” Mawarire said to thunderous applauses
from the crowd.
A former army brigadier and a veteran of the 1970s war against white
minority rule, Ambrose Mutinhiri, who quit Zanu PF to protest the removal
of Mugabe in a soft coup, formed the NPF but it has failed to gain
traction on the ground.
Mawarire’s address gave grit to widespread talk that the MDC Alliance
could join forces with the NPF to enhance their chances of winning the
Thousands of MDC Alliance demonstrators, most of them dressed in red,
assembled in front of Parliament in a public square called Africa Unity
Square, waving placards and demanding wide-sweeping electoral reforms and
free and fair elections, before marching to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) headquarters.
Dressed in a red overall and helmet, Chamisa led the walk from Africa
Unity Square to Zec offices.
He later addressed the bumper crowd at Africa Unity Square after
presenting a petition to Zec demanding among, other things, that the
company printing ballot papers be made public and that the ballot papers
be subjected to a forensic audit to ascertain its chemical composition.
Chamisa said his party will continue to step up pressure until the polling
“With the numbers we have attracted here, we have made a statement that
has been heard all over the world, in America, in Britain that we have
said no to a rigged election,” Chamisa said, thanking the multitudes that
“You have not disappointed and even Zec officials wanted to know where we
got such numbers but I told them these are the people on the voters’ roll,
they want their votes to be secure.
“We are going to go national, all the urban centres: Bulawayo, Masvingo,
Mutare, Bindura Marondera and all rural areas to make sure we involve
Chamisa rubbished Zanu PF claims that the demo betrayed fear of an
impending poll defeat at the hands of Mnangagwa, 75.
“We are doing this not because we are afraid of elections, we are doing it
because we love Mnangagwa and we don’t want him to cheat himself to power
because he will have cheated us all.
“I asked for a meeting with him (Mnangagwa) but he refused and I warned
him that I was going to bring the people (out into the streets).
“We will do this every day until we get reforms. We will get to a point
where it becomes necessary that we stop all the processes. We are prepared
to do whatever is necessary to achieve what we want – free and fair
“Mnangagwa sent me a message demanding to know where I was getting the
courage to do this and I told him that God is behind my actions. We have
since won this election and Mnangagwa knows this,” he declared.
The former ICT minister also explained that while Mnangagwa has since
proclaimed a poll date which means that no changes can now be made to the
Electoral Act for the purposes of this election, what he is demanding has
nothing to do with the law, saying it is administrative.
“Of course, there are those who mislead people saying that we failed to
push our demands in Parliament, so it is no longer possible because the
dates have been announced.
“What we are demanding has nothing to do with Parliament. We failed to
agree on the Electoral Act in Parliament but now what we are calling for
is an administrative issue which only requires political will. They cannot
argue that the issue of ballot boxes is a security issue when they are
having access,” the 40-year-old presidential candidate said.
He said he was going to meet South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who
is the Sadc chairperson, as well as heads of the AU to brief them on his
party’s minimum expectations for the polls.
“From here, I am going to meet with the Sadc chair Cyril Ramaphosa and the
AU to impress upon them that we will not accept a rigged election.
“We want to make sure that the voters’ roll is audited so that there are
no ghost voters and if that is done, then we will accept whoever wins the
election only that I cannot congratulate myself because I will have won. I
expect Mnangagwa to congratulate me,” Chamisa said.
He also demanded what he termed “chlorination of the Zec secretariat” to
ensure that people with a military background, whom he accused of serving
Zanu PF interests, are uprooted from the election commission.
Chamisa demanded equal media coverage, slamming the State media for giving
him adverse coverage.
“We want the public media to be objective but ZBC is pathetic. We don’t
want any favours from them but they must just report what is happening
truthfully. If they give live coverage to Mnangagwa, the same must apply
“We don’t want our army to be abused. Why are you deploying the army
against a political party? We are not at war, and we are brothers who are
merely competing for power.”
The Kuwadzana East legislator paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Republic Police
for its “professional conduct” during the march that took them to Zec
offices and back without incident.
“We want to thank the police for behaving well. That was professional, so
we must acknowledge that because we don’t want to just criticise for the
sake of it. We must give credit where it is due,” Chamisa said.
The MDC has previously accused the police of being partisan and
heavy-handed when dealing with opposition protesters.