OPPOSITION MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa yesterday said he would today confront President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba to demand answers after his party officials were allegedly barred from witnessing the printing of the ballot papers in Harare on Saturday.
By Simbarashe Sithole
Addressing a campaign rally at Mvurwi Stadium in Mazowe North constituency, Chamisa accused Zec of bending all electoral regulations to rig the elections in favour of Mnangagwa.
“If we do not agree on ballot papers, there will be no elections this year. I was told that our party members were not given time to witness the printing of papers, hence tomorrow (today), I am going to see Chigumba and Mnangagwa. If we do not agree on that, there will be no elections,” he said.
Mnangagwa is currently out of the country attending an African Union summit, which ends today in Mauritania.
The claims were also confirmed by MDC Senator David Coltart and MDC-T executive member Jameson Timba, who indicated that they were barred from entering the premises where the ballot papers were being printed.
Chamisa said he had also gathered reports that Zec had changed the format of the presidential ballot papers and placed him side-by-side with Mnangagwa, instead of following the alphabetical order which would have placed him on second position with the Zanu PF leader 15th on the candidates list.
Chamisa said the changes were meant to confuse some of the voters into voting for Mnangagwa.
The youthful opposition presidential aspirant also disclosed that former Zanu PF strongman Robert Mugabe had endorsed his candidature.
“How can we lose an election to a disjointed ruling party? Mugabe pledged to vote for me. So if you do not vote for me, Mugabe will do so. Hence, if I happen to lose, I will know that it is you, not Mugabe, since I already have his vote,” he told the rally.
Chamisa also called on Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to take a break from politics, saying the former military commander had failed to find his feet in the country’s fast-shifting political terrain.
“Chiwenga is a military man. He should relax and leave us the young people to govern the country. Recently, he said people of Zimbabwe should not worry about cash. Honestly, how can he say that cash is not important? Give me a chance in government and enjoy life,” Chamisa pleaded.
He took the opportunity to endorse MDC-T aspiring legislator Tulani Ndlovu ahead of MDC Alliance candidate Tinashe Muchenje.
“We know you had problems with your candidates here, but we have seen that Ndlovu is more popular and with him, we are assured of winning the seat. He stands a better chance against the incumbent MP Martin Dinha (Zanu PF),” he said.
Chamisa also blasted the government for failing to deliver and said stability was brought by the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the Government of National Unity (GNU), which he said was an “appetiser”.
“This government has failed. It was stabilised by the late Tsvangirai in the (GNU). At least we have something to prove to you that we can deliver. The so-called new dispensation under Mnangagwa is nothing, as they have brought nothing in seven months of power,” he said.
“There is nothing called new dispensation. Mugabe and Mnangagwa are the same. Ngwena (Mnangagwa) served Mugabe for 52 years, so what is new now? Do not be deceived these old people. He should just go and rest.”
He promised better health facilities, aiming a jibe at Zanu PF top officials who were airlifted to neighbouring South Africa for better medication after they were injured during a bomb explosion at Mnangagwa’s White City Stadium rally last week.
“If voted into office, our health sector will be super, not what we are witnessing from Zanu PF. (Some) people were airlifted to South Africa. Why South Africa yet we have hospitals here? Just because you are a top Zanu PF official you can go to South Africa, where there is medication. How about those at the periphery? How do they survive?” he queried.
Chamisa said corruption was a cancer in Zanu PF since most of its officials were buying houses and developing other countries at the expense of Zimbabwe.
“Zanu PF officials are so corrupt. You see them buying houses in foreign countries. Why do they want to invest in other countries? It is because of corruption. That should stop by voting them out.”