Harare, (New Ziana) – In what is seen as a ploy to shore up his waning political standing, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday vowed to press ahead with plans to deliver a so-called ‘address to the nation’ that police have outlawed on security grounds.
Since losing the 2018 presidential election to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader has lost much of the poll-related political aroma he enjoyed; his public limelight now confined to occasional rantings in the media.
In a bid to turn around his political fortunes, Chamisa announced plans to
deliver an ‘address to the nation’ mimicking a head of state next week, but
police banned the move.
Although police, in banning Chamisa’s planned address cited lack of manpower, there are also fears this could have triggered violence as has happened in related circumstances in the past.
In January last year, for instance, the party organised street protests over President Mnangagwa’s election victory, resulting in orgies of violence in which eight people died.
It is in light of this and other incidents of violence during MDC marches
that police have often refused to sanction its public gatherings.
But in a twitter post on Wednesday, Chamisa vowed ‘come what may’ he
will deliver his ‘address to the nation’ to outline the ‘people’s agenda.’
“Enough is enough. We have exhausted all channels. We can’t continue
to be victims of unjust application of the rule of law. Rights are for
all,” he tweeted.
“On Tuesday 21st January we will deliver the people’s agenda 2020 to
the nation come what may.”
Observers noted Chamisa, after snubbing post-election platforms that were
created to allow all parties and leaders to contribute to national affairs,
was desperate for public limelight, even within his party.
A confrontation with police, they noted, would give him this, and this was
craved, however brief it could be.
Chamisa’s plans, especially the planned defiance of the police ban, may also be linked to the World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings in Switzerland next week.
So often in the past, including last January’s violence, the MDC goads the police into a confrontation to blemish the country’s image in the eyes of the international community whenever important world meetings are held.
President Mnangagwa cancelled participation at last year’s WEF meetings, attended by almost all world leaders, because of the January violence.
Coincident or not, this year’s WEF meetings start on the same day Chamisa plans to deliver his ‘address to the nation.’