BY MOSES MATENGA
THE opposition MDC Alliance yesterday said it would, in a seismic shift, rally citizens to defend their vote during the 2023 general election in order to prevent Zanu PF from rigging.
The Nelson Chamisa-led party said it was leaving nothing to chance ahead of the polls, adding that there was need to rope in different stakeholders to achieve its goals and defend the vote against manipulation.
“We now want to change the way we have been doing things,” MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende told NewsDay yesterday.
“We now want to put citizens at the forefront of bringing change to Zimbabwe and we seek to encourage the convergence of Zimbabweans from various backgrounds that include farmers, students, workers, miners and everyone to converge and participate and bring change.”
“It is no longer an issue for a political party alone or president Chamisa alone, but is an issue for Zimbabweans to ensure that we bring democracy and change to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Hwende said the main objective of the campaign was to ensure every Zimbabwean had a say from the stage of choosing candidates, campaign processes and defending the vote.
“The objective is to facilitate the convergence of citizens so that they bring change in Zimbabwe. Citizens are coming together to facilitate registration of voters in their areas and participate in terms of campaigning and safeguarding the vote and ensuring the polling stations are well-manned and well-resourced,” he said.
“We also want to ensure that the candidates that we offer are coming from the community and selected by the citizens so it is those broad areas that the programme seeks the involvement of citizens.”
He said the campaign had been well-received and the party was compiling data to ensure all the 10 000 polling stations across the country are properly manned.
“We are taking more pledges and taking a lot of work and we are forming support groups to ensure they participate.”
Hwende’s claims come at a time when exiled former Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo pledged to support polling agents in Tsholotsho and offered to train the agents. Moyo is a former Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho.
“Dear secretary-general Hwende, for 2023: I will support, with other #IziqholoZezhwane, all the people’s polling agents at all polling stations in Tsholotsho. I offer to train all 44 000 approved and security-screened polling agents for 11 000 polling stations. #ZW2023ManyVoicesOneGoal,” Moyo tweeted.
Several individuals have also pledged the same with MDC Alliance supporters in the diaspora recently adopting the Zanu PF stronghold of Uzumba in Mashonaland East province.
Follow Moses on Twitter @mmatenga