By Fungi Kwaramba
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa says his life is now in danger following his harassment by State security agents over the weekend.
The opposition leader, who disputes President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidency and legitimacy, was harassed twice by overzealous State security agents who blocked him from paying his last respects to the late Oliver Mtukudzi, first at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Saturday and the following day at the late music icon’s rural home in Madziwa.
“My life is now in danger because the hatred has now reached another level. Sadly, that is based on fear and you know what, all fearful people are dangerous. The behaviour that they are demonstrating shows that they can do anything,” said Chamisa.
Chamisa said attempts to block him from Tuku’s funeral were an indication that the hatred and polarisation in the country had reached alarming levels and could only be stopped through inclusive dialogue before the country hits rock bottom due to the mounting economic and social crises.
The MDC leader said what Mnangagwa does on the ground is different from what he says on social media where he has claimed to be ready to engage all political leaders.
“In politics, you do not read the lips of a politician you read the actions. You can hear someone talk but the walk is different…
“Dialogue is important. There is no national progress without an honest conversation, we need to look at the character and content of our objectives, you cannot have international engagement without national conversation, you cannot look for friends internationally without looking for friends in your country, you cannot move around saying Zimbabwe is open for anything when Zimbabwe is divided, where there is division and the vision is empty,” said Chamisa, adding that national dialogue has now become inescapable.
“There must be dialogue; this dialogue is not about power. There are misguided elements who think a certain party needs dialogue more than others. That is wrong; dialogue is good for the nation. In uncivilised countries, people lose lives on account of politics but in civilised democracies politics save life; why should we lose life in order to have dialogue if we can have dialogue first?” asked Chamisa.
Recently, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba was quoted in the media saying it was Chamisa who needed the talks and not the ruling party leader whose rule is now showing signs of the old order under deposed dictator Robert Mugabe.
Civil rights organisations say more than a thousand people, mostly youths, have been arrested in connection with the riots that saw shops being looted while police stations were raided.
Lawyers have raised concern at the pattern of convictions of those who were arrested by the police.
“This is not just a Chamisa issue, Chamisa is just a citizen of Zimbabwe. Whereas in other countries terrorists are vigilante groups, the situation is different here because it is actually the State that is behaving in a terrorist manner.
“Those in government are being criminal; they have broken the covenant but then you cannot govern without the consent of the governed. Consent cannot be forced; the government cannot afford to be criminal because it erodes the confidence of the citizens.
“That must change; we must replace hatred with love, force with peace, anger with happiness, pressure with pleasure and sorrow with honour and satisfaction, discontent with contentment,” Chamisa said.
The MDC leader denied assertions that he is an attention seeker seeking to get into power through the backdoor.
“I am already in power, people gave me the power. I can’t look for what I have been given, we must have dialogue for the sake of our country because what we are witnessing is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis; it’s fast inviting questions on whether these are not crimes against humanity?
“Why should torture be an instrument of conditioning human behaviour? It’s primitive, it is savage and akin to a vampire State, we cannot be a crocodile State,” Chamisa said tongue-in-cheek.
Over the past few weeks, soldiers who were deployed to quell demonstrations have been accused of orchestrating a reign of terror against citizens, particularly in high density suburbs where the poor live.
Women have been captured on international media narrating heart-wrenching incidents of rape, while disturbing pictures of assaulted people have been awash on social media.
Government, which has justified the deployment of soldiers, has promised to investigate the brutalities with the army offering the public a hotline to report any cases of abuse from its members.
However, Chamisa said what is unfolding is degenerating into a humanitarian crisis that puts into question government’s commitment to forging a new beginning with no traces of the past. Daily News