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It's Chamisa time!

08 Jan 2022 at 06:11hrs | Views
The long awaited by-elections which were recently proclaimed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa are going to put to test Zimbabwe's main opposition parties, with the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance having an upper hand in most if not all the recalled vacant seats.

With barely two and half months to go until the national assembly by-elections on March 26, MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has revealed that he is more interested in having dialogue with the ruling Zanu-PF, evidenced by his State House visit to meet President Mnangagwa on January 6, hours after the by-elections proclamation was made.

Chamisa on the other hand is expected to reveal part, if not most of his election strategy with the by-elections necessitated by the recall of his stronghold in the national assembly by the MDC-T after it won a legitimacy battle in 2020, with political experts saying that playing his cards close to his chest is no longer an option.

The recalling of legislators by Mwonzora's MDC-T came as what many called a killer blow to MDC Alliance and for some time the party lied low, raising speculation that it was as good as done, after which Chamisa went on a tour towards the end of 2021 that was marred with violence from alleged Zanu-PF supporters, dragging Chamisa out of a long hiatus from political relevance.

The tour came hot on the heels of MDC-T Deputy Chairperson Giles Mutsekwa telling supporters in Masvingo that the MDC Alliance name issue was as good as done as his party had already won the case in court, therefore stripping Chamisa's party of the name.

"The party name wrangle we have with MDC Alliance is as good as done as we have already won the battle. We are coming from the high offices where the matter should end, and I can assure you that the matter is done. Chamisa and crew are just making noise but they are illegitimate," Mutsekwa said in October 2021.

Addressing journalists at a press conference in Masvingo a week later, Chamisa scoffed at the party name issue saying fighting for names was petty because the electorate was conscious of who they were going to vote for come election time.

"Fighting over names is petty because the people are conscious of the people they need to occupy office. We are not worried about names because you can call a donkey something else but people know that it is a donkey, so whatever they call us we will remain MDC-Alliance because people know their leadership," Chamisa said.

MDC-T Presidential Spokesperson Lloyd Damba recently said his party was past the name issue as there was a standing court ruling they have won.

"We are past the issue of the name, there is a standing court ruling that we won and certain parts of the media for political expediency somehow hijacked the name and credited it to Nelson Chamisa in contempt of court. We stand where we stood (sic) because we know who we are and where we came from and are going. The alliance agreement defines who is the MDC Alliance and who is the principal of that pact," said Damba.

He went on to say they were confident that they will win the elections saying the party was formed to take power through peaceful and constitutional means.

"As a party, we were formed to take state power through electoral peaceful democratic and constitutional means. One thing that you know is that you go to war not to die but to kill," said Damba

When asked for comment on the state of preparedness and party name issue however, MDC-Alliance spokesperson Advocate Fadzai Mahere said they will reveal the party's position at the right time.

"At the appropriate time, we will set our position to the people," said Mahere.

Political analyst Doctor Alexander Rusero said the issue of the name was not critical when it comes to elections saying the Chamisa camp could not be foolish not to know what needs to be done.

"I am sure something is brewing in the Chamisa camp, they cannot be foolish and they will soon produce something that will put the name issue to rest. Even if Mwonzora uses the name MDC Chamisa people will always know what they want," said Dr Rusero.

Dr Rusero also said Mwonzora had nothing to prove as he has nothing much to offer, with the real battle being left between Chamisa's party and Zanu-PF's newly elected provincial leaders to prove their strength in mobilizing for the 2023 harmonised elections.

"Mwonzora is just an accident of politics and a spent force, he has nothing to offer, so the election is a real test for Zanu-PF's newly elected provincial leaders' ability to mobilize for 2023. The new dispensation does not know the culture of elections and still has the 2018 election hangover so this by-election is more about them as the incumbent," said Dr Rusero.

He went on to say elections were not just there to test the preparedness of the parties but a constitutional matter as well as a yardstick to indicate who the electorate chooses to represent them.

Another political commentator Doctor Wellington Gadzikwa said the by-election will prove who is who between Chamisa and Mwonzora saying the election will set pace for the 2023 elections, with the name issue having the potential to confuse the electorate if both parties decide to go by the same name.

"This is a litmus test for the MDC parties, this is where we are going to see who is who between the two. However, the name issue could bring confusion to the electorate because Mwonzora and team are threatening to use the MDC-Alliance name and there could be minor differences," said Dr Gadzikwa

A total of 28 seats are vacant in parliament and 105 in local authorities, with most of them being recalls by Mwonzora's MDC-T which saw all elected officials loyal to Chamisa's MDC-Alliance being purged from public office.

There seems to be a strong inclination to Chamisa using the Citizens Convergence for Change (CCC) as some of his support base has hinted that in both mainstream and social media.

Source - TellZim
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