MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday apologised to his supporters, families and victims of the August 1 fatal shootings, for describing the demonstrations which led to the killing of six victims by the army as “stupid”.
By Everson Mushava/Jairos Saunyama
Chamisa on Thursday described the protests as not strategic, as it opened floodgates of their manipulation.
His choice of the word “stupid” caused ruction and unrest within the opposition structures, with social media hacks lynching the youthful politician’s sincerity to those that were affected by the crackdown.
Having realised the pressure and public anger generated by his unpalatable utterances, Chamisa apologised and multitudes of his supporters had to go an extra foot to calm down his angry support base and others, who described his comments as offside.
“My remarks to condemn those who killed or injured the innocent, burnt cars and destroyed property on August 1 used ‘words’ that regrettably created the wrong impression. The people have a constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully. Any discomfort caused is sincerely regretted,” Chamisa posted on his micro-blogging Twitter handle @nelsonchamisa.
His spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda was also busy trying to tone down the situation, saying his boss had “retracted the dreaded word”.
Many other senior MDC officials were busy yesterday trying to douse the flames on Chamisa’s statements.
Chamisa, his deputy Morgen Komichi and deputy chairperson Tendai Biti, among other MDC leaders, have been invited to appear before the former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe’s August 1 shootings commission of inquiry next week.
The opposition MDC party has refused to recognise the proceedings, describing as unfair the move to subpoena Chamisa and others, without inviting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga to give evidence on their role in the deployment of the soldiers.
Chamisa said Mnangagwa must give his testimony first, as he also denied sending protesters onto the streets.
The opposition party is reportedly weighing its options for another round of protests against Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, Chamisa will today address a rally at Nyamuzuwe business centre in Mutoko to garner support for his party’s candidate ahead of the November 24 Mutoko North by-election. The seat fell vacant following the appointment of Mabel Chinomona as Senate president.
MDC’s Bornface Mushore, who lost to Chinomona in the July 30 elections, was given a second chance to contest against Rambidzai Nyabote of Zanu PF.
Mashonaland East provincial vice-organising secretary Bornface Tagwirei confirmed Chamisa’s visit and said they were confident of winning the election.
“There is a presidential rally at Nyamuzuwe business centre this Saturday (today). We held a national organising meeting yesterday (Thursday) with (Amos) Chibaya, who also confirmed the rally. The police have already cleared it and everything is in order,” he said.