MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday rejected an offer by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to give him official recognition as an opposition leader, saying he is challenging his rival’s legitimacy.
Mnangagwa revealed during interviews with United States television networks on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly that Chamisa would be given certain perks as leader of the opposition.
The gesture was seen as an attempt to end the dispute that ensued after the July elections where the MDC Alliance accused the Zanu PF leader of rigging the elections.
A petition by Chamisa challenging the presidential election results was thrown out by the Constitutional Court, but the opposition still refuses to recognise Mnangagwa’s victory.
However, Chamisa told his supporters during a clean-up campaign in Harare’s Budiriro and Glen View suburbs that he remained focused on proving that he won the elections.
“They are saying they want me to go to Parliament and I said: ‘Are you sick?’ I was elected to go to State House and not Parliament,” he said.
“Hold forth because we are not easily convinced. I have no fear because I know you are solidly behind me.”
The youthful politician caused a stir in the two suburbs during the clean-up campaign when thousands of people mobbed him.
Meanwhile, Chamisa told The Standard that he would consider talks on the proposals announced by Mnangagwa.
“That (position) is a non-issue,” he said.
“That has nothing to do with me and the most crucial issue in this country is to deal with the five issues that we put forward. This five-point plan is the pass to transformation and legitimacy.”
He said his plan included restoring democracy, offering a reform package, national healing and peace building, international re-engagement based on reforms and democratic values and a collective response to the humanitarian crisis in the country.
“Those are the issues that we must focus on. The issue is not about creating a position without consensus or that which does not address the fundamental issues,” he said.
“Zimbabweans are suffering, they are jobless, homeless and ‘happyless’, peaceless and because of the questions of governance and legitimacy of disputed elections which we must address and correct first.
“You don’t cure symptoms, but you cure causes. The problem in the country is not cholera, but the biggest disease that we have is a leadership and governance crisis. Of course, we have cholera, but it is a manifestation of problems.”
Chamisa condemned the government crackdown against vendors in Harare saying it was insensitive. He claimed the government was using the fight against cholera as an excuse to victimise his supporters.
“You turn a disease into a political weapon. Mnangagwa must not capitalise on a disease for politics,” Chamisa said.
“Mnangagwa must stop harassing vendors. Who is not a vendor? we are all vendors and it’s only that we have different stations of vending. Mnangagwa is a vendor when in New York, Beijing or Davos and why should it be a problem to be a vendor in the CBD when you yourself you are vending in the capitals of the world?
“Will he be comfortable if he is treated the same way he is treating vendors here? It’s not good at all.
“I told the councillors that they must not be involved in harassing the vendors, if they want to victimise people, let them do it on their own.
“But you know that there is no one who survives forever by victimising other people and when tables turn we will ask them.”
He said the MDC had a clear plan to revive the economy.
Harare mayor Herbert Gomba said they would not be part of raids against vendors and also thanked the MDC leadership for supporting them in the fight against cholera.
Gomba said vendors should be treated with respect as they contribute to council’s revenue for them to upgrade service delivery.
“Cholera was not caused by vendors, no, and after all it is not a problem to be a vendor because people will be trying to earn a living,” he said.
“Cholera was caused by a contaminated borehole at Tichagarika and not vendors.”
“Therefore, vendors and all the residents must not try to apportion blame where there is none. Vending is an honest way of earning a living.”
Cholera has killed at least 49 people out of nearly 7 000 cases recorded mainly in Harare.
— The Standard