Wednesday 9 May 2018


MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa, has spoken at the Oxford Union about his contentious rise to the MDC presidency.

The 40-year-old opposition leader spoke to students about the recent MDC split over leadership struggles that have seen one of the vice presidents Thokozani Khupe walk out to form her own movement.

Chamisa was elected substantive leader of the opposition party after the death of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14 with his demise widening divisions in the party only months before elections.

Chamisa, who was taking the role of acting president following Tsvangirai’s death, has also been named the party’s presidential candidate.

This was the resolution of the national executive and the national council, the party’s supreme decision-making organ between congresses, that met at the party headquarters in central Harare on March 1.

Chamisa beat MDC deputy president Khupe, 54, a former deputy prime minister, who did not attend the vote, marking a pivotal moment for the MDC, which nearly came to power in 2008 under the late Tsvangirai’s leadership. 

“We were unfortunate that we lost our icon (Mr) Tsvangirai at a crucial time and we have had to make sure that we put in place a vehicle that is able to win elections particularly in the context of a broad alliance and a grand national union,” Chamisa said.

“So we have had to form alliances with seven other political parties, and within that context we have had certain leaders that were not comfortable with the arrangement.
“It is so surprising how unity has become a source of disunity.

“This pursuit of unity has also caused other members not be comfortable with certain arrangements. But we need alliance with other parties.”

The Oxford Union, the most prestigious student debating organisation in the United Kingdom whose membership is drawn primarily from the University of Oxford, hosted Chamisa on Monday to debate Zimbabwe’s ongoing political transition.

Chamisa joins countless British prime ministers, three US presidents and top political figures from the Dalai Lama to Malcolm X on the prestigious 195-year-old debating society’s archival guest list.  

Asked about his vow to expel Chinese investors if he wins elections due in July/August, Chamisa said he was not targeting any particular country but would seek mutually beneficial transactions across the world.

“Let us do business on the basis of set values and norms; good governance, human rights observance and non-exploitation of citizens,” Chamisa said.

The MDC Alliance president had told a May Day rally in the capital, Harare: “I have seen the deals that Ngwena has entered into with China and others, they are busy asset-stripping the resources of the country. I have said beginning September when I assume office, I will call the Chinese and tell them the deals they signed are unacceptable and they should return to their country.”

China has stakes worth many billions of dollars in everything from agriculture to construction.

Chamisa was also asked about the threat to veto the political transition if he won the elections but said there were a number of soldiers that were professional whom he believed would respect the will of the people if he romps to victory.

“The ballot must be protected by the bullet not for the bullet to undermine the ballot,” he said. .

Asked about government’s move to allow applications for licences to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, Chamisa said it was a hasty policy that was churned without the involvement of the people.

“We do not know the views of the people on this, we are going to review this,” he said. 
Asked about the integrity and independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe, Chamisa said  he thinks Zimbabwe has a judiciary that has the necessary latitude to deliver on the bench.
“We cannot condemn the whole basket because there are a few bad apples,” he said. Daily News


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