MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa said that his recent tour of Masvingo Province has exposed President Emmerson Mnangagwa as an unpopular leader.
Chamisa’s visits to many parts of the province last week were met with violence from groups of ZANU PF supporters who tried to prevent him from meeting MDC Alliance supporters.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard on Friday, Chamisa said the reaction by the ruling party to his meet-the-people tour showed that Mnangagwa’s supporters were no longer confident that their leader still commanded popular support. Chamisa said:
It is clear ZANU PF and Mnangagwa are not wanted but use all those tactics to win. They use intimidation and violence to force people.
… The feeling in the areas I visited is that there is no leadership in this country. Even ZANU PF people are disappointed with what they are seeing.
The political leadership is so unpopular and detached from the people.
They had a mythical view of Mnangagwa and now that he is in power, they are really shocked.
Get it from me; ZANU PF is extremely unpopular and not people-centred.
Chamisa said ZANU PF officials were resorting to violence because they had realised that it would be impossible to win a free and fair contest.
He said government workers and traditional leaders were also unhappy with the alleged abuse by ZANU PF. Said Chamisa:
Our police are also victims of repression from ZANU PF. You can even tell from their body language that they know what they are doing is wrong, but they are just protecting their jobs.
There is a very concerted effort to conflate the police and Zanu PF when in fact the state does not belong to a political party.
… Traditional leaders are living in fear and lamenting abuse and being treated like mujibhas for ZANU PF.
Those working in government say they are being forced to work as ZANU PF commissars.
The MDC Alliance accuses Mnangagwa of trying to create a one-party state by closing the democratic space and sponsoring a rival party led by Douglas Mwonzora.