MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa yesterday drew a bumper crowd in his final rally, eclipsing President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose campaign engagement across town attracted a paltry crowd ahead of tomorrow’s harmonised elections.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
Additional reporting by Zenzele Ndebele
Yesterday’s rallies marked the end of the campaign period and Harare was a sea of red as MDC Alliance supporters gave the youthful presidential candidate the thumbs-up.
Chamisa told his supporters that he was confident of upstaging Mnangagwa in the watershed elections.
“Today we are celebrating. Change is inevitable, victory is certain. If we miss our chance on Monday, we are doomed for life,” he said.
The former student leader said he held 82 campaign rallies since he took over from the late Morgan Tsvangirai and three-quarters of them were in rural areas.
Chamisa said he was impressed by “the commitment for change” that was also “palpable” in rural areas.
“The message from rural areas was very clear that the people want change,” he said.
“What I want to tell Mnangagwa is that there will be no run-off, there is a run-over, we are going to win. There is no way Mnangagwa can win this election.”
He tore into Mnangagwa, saying he was trying to run away from his past by heaping blame for the country’s economic decay on Mugabe.
“You cannot run away from your shadow. We know Mugabe erred, they erred together with Mnangagwa,” he said.
“I am focusing on the future, not the past, we will say to Mugabe, show us where you failed and we take it from there.
“Mugabe and Mnangagwa are in the same WhatsApp group.”
Chamisa assured civil servants that their jobs were secure, saying his government would not fire anyone, but would change the way of doing things.
“We want to restore the glitter and glamour of the teaching profession,” he said.
“Soldiers, you are not a militia of a party, you protect the people.
“I know the likes of [Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Philip] Valerio Sibanda are professional and know they would support the people’s vote.
“No soldier will be victimised. We are going to debunk the notion that soldiers are of a political party.”
Chamisa said he would remove bond notes and restore confidence in the banking sector in his quest to revive the economy.
He also promised property rights and security of tenure to newly resettled farmers.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa’s campaign manager Sibusiso Moyo said all the candidates must accept the outcome of tomorrow’s polls even if the results were not in their favour.
“Why are you not asking if other opposition parties are ready to accept the results when the results come out?” he said in response to questions on whether the incumbent would hand over power if defeated.
“This is an obligation of all contesting parties that the will of the people will prevail and we don’t expect anyone else to be challenging the results,” the Foreign Affairs minister said.
Tomorrow’s elections will be keenly watched across the world as Zimbabwe seeks to come out of decades of international isolation.