By Fani Mapfumo
MDC officials have come out guns blazing in response to social media “miss-representation” of Nelson Chamisa’s Wednesday press conference in which he touched a raw nerve on the issue of the importance of councillors.
Opposition officials say Chamisa was merely expressing the views of his supporters and not his own.
Speaking to Zim Morning Post, a source close to Chamisa said during his national tour, party supporters had said they were being victimised and exposed to political violence.
The source added that during the national tour Chamisa had been advised that Zanu PF was using food aid as a weapon against opposition supporters, hence they no longer had hopes in by-elections.
“A vote other than for Zanu PF will see citizens being victimised and living in fear. Citizens will also be punished by being denied food and farming inputs,” the source told Zim Morning Post.
“President Chamisa only shared what people in the rural constituencies were saying to the MDC leadership. In the absence of electoral reforms, people in rural areas are concerned about voting objectively in by-elections based on two core considerations,” the source added.
Another Chamisa loyalist argued that there was need for serious electoral reforms in Zimbabwe and without them, citizens would always be under siege from Zanu PF.
“Zanu PF take advantage of the divided attention given to by-elections by the media and international community,” the source said.
He added that there was need for electoral and security reforms to guarantee safety of the rural electorate which may be subject to abuse by the ruling party and this can only be done at national level.
“The citizens in rural constituencies noted that voting for a Councillor in a by-election under such circumstances merely exposed them to abuse and harassment and local authority had limited influence under those circumstances to effect change.”
On Wednesday Chamisa was criticised by his own supporters, including outspoken activists Feeman Chari and exiled former Zanu PF Politburo member, Jonathan Moyo.
“A councillor can be an effective leader if groomed and empowered. They can help solve local problems like water and diptank issues, among others. That is what is called grassroots leadership. Your good councilors today are your solid MP candidates for 2023,” wrote Chari.
Moyo, who has sided with Chamisa since 2018 and is believed to be one of Chamisa’s political advisers said every vote is golden.
“The fact that no one has a national address and that everyone, even the Pope, must have a local address is because all politics is local and that’s where the best comes from. No national office, certainly not the presidency, can be won without a local base,” Moyo wrote on his Twitter handle.
Zim Morning Post