By Moses Matenga/Harriet Chikandiwa
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday said it was time for Zimbabweans to act against rights abuses and economic problems bedevelling the country.
Chamisa spoke after MDC leaders, including vice-presidents Tendai Biti and Lynnette Karenyi-Kore, had just been released on bail by a Harare magistrate after their arrest on Friday for allegedly violating the lockdown regulations.
Other MDC Alliance leaders that were released on $1 000 bail each were deputy secretary-general David Chimhini, secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo, her deputy Lovemore Chinoputsa and Vongai Tome.
The five were arrested while trying to gain access to the party’s headquarters in central Harare that had been taken over by the rival MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe, who were helped by the military and police.
Chamisa said the “people must take charge” to end their suffering.
“The challenges in our country, the shortage of fuel, the shortage of electricity, the shortage of money, the shortage of good governance, the shortage of happiness, the shortage of democracy, of freedom, opportunities, the shortages of jobs is such that it is now time. The centre can no longer hold,” he said.
“Enough is enough and people have the right to peacefully express themselves in terms of the constitution.
“I don’t understand why this should call for a conference, a revolution will never have headquarters, and a revolution will never have offices, so that is why this whole false focus on Harvest House is a waste of time.
“The real house that is of consequence here is the State House where we have to make sure that we correct issues and ensure we have correct people in offices of government.
“At the moment we have the wrong people.”
He said people were tired of the Zanu PF government’s failure and action must start from them to “right the wrongs”.
“In terms of timing, you will never have a timetable for a revolution. People have the right to express themselves,” Chamisa said.
“That is why the constitution is very clear. It is up to the people, it will never come from the top, like water doesn’t boil from the top, it boils from the bottom.
“You will not get me to announce, but we have to organise, we have to mobilise without being violent to send a clear message and have change and change is nigh.”
Chamisa said it was disturbing that the Mnangagwa administration was using the courts and state institutions including the military to fight “alternative voices”.
“What is quite disturbing for us is a new trend that we are seeing, a trend of abuse of our justice system, turning our justice chambers into chambers of torture, chambers of malice and chambers of vindictiveness,” he said.
“We can see that there is now a political hand that is permeating our issues of justice and law being used as a weapon against those perceived to be on other side of the political divide.
“We are beginning also to see the use of the military especially at Harvest House.
“The fact that we had soldiers (involved) we have a cause for concern. It is a new law, a new abnormal.”
Chamisa accused Khupe of working with Zanu PF to destroy the “alternative voice”.
“This is a passing phase by desperate individuals. This is not an MDC issue. It is an issue being visited upon us by our colleagues in Zanu PF,” he said.
“My brother [President Emmerson Mnangagwa] seems to be so fixated upon dealing with individuals within the opposition and forgets that the real issue in the country is about dealing with Covid-19, dealing with bread and butter issues.
“Workers have no salaries, they need to be paid, corruption is a new religion, but we know, we have been in this game for a long time.”
“This is visiting us for not compromising on our principles.
“We don’t want that Al Shabaab mentality.
“You don’t come nicodemously, if you have issues, why abuse state institutions to drag them in matters purely political? “This all will end. “This is a storm in a tea cup.”
Chamisa accused Mwonzora of lying and lacking integrity, dismissing charges by the rival faction that MDC Alliance was a G40 appendage.
“You can’t be the voice of the alternative if you lack integrity. They know they are lying,” he said.
“They are being supported by Zanu PF in everything they are doing and the state media are always in tow and their goal is to destroy democracy.”
“I am not going to be reduced to petty fights; we will be leading Mr Mnangagwa and all Zimbabweans, so I will not divide people.
“We must unite people and we should have a common vision as Zimbabweans and stop this funny culture of labelling.”
Meanwhile, Beatrice Mtetwa, who represented the MDC Alliance leaders, said they had been subjected to inhumane treatment while in custody.
“We have raised a number of complaints with the court in particular the failure to comply with Covid-19 regulations by the state,” Mtetwa said.
“Basically, every requirement was breached by the state.
“They did not provide them with sanitisers, they did not provide them with masks, they did not observe social distancing, there was no water in the cells.
“They had to take their shoes off in the cells and they had to walk on the dirty floor that was not sanitised and unflushed toilets and for me it is ironic because the main charge now is they were alleged to have breached the Covid-19 regulations.”