By Alois Vinga
MDC-Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa says he is saddened by the extreme poverty levels observed during his crusading nationwide tours and urges Zimbabwean citizens to unite through the ballot and end the country’s challenges.
Chamisa is currently on a trailblazing campaign to woo rural support, which has taken him to Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland West provinces where his teams have been attacked by violent people believed to be acting for and on behalf of Zanu PF.
In an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com Chamisa said poverty levels in the country were too high.
“There is general disgruntlement occasioned by the alarming levels of extreme poverty. Money has not visited the pockets of many in a very long time. Decent meals have not graced people’s stomachs of late. There is widespread joblessness, hopelessness, homelessness all over and the Zimbabwean people are generally without happiness,” he said.
“The anger and frustration levels are too high and these are generally accounting for the alarming levels of intolerance and violence,” said Chamisa.
The opposition leader highlighted that part of his feedback shows that the thirst for hunger and change is real, underscoring that for most citizens, real and true change is a myriad for them as they can’t freely express themselves, freely associate and can’t even elect candidates of their choice.
During the interface, he said, people informed him that full independence remains a pipe dream and distant realisation as they feel vulnerable and unprotected.
On the violent attacks he has so far endured, Chamisa said: “Political violence is evidence of lack of support, affection and love.”
He described communities and townships as reminiscing the scene of a post war torn environment loaded with people that can’t make ends meet.
The MDC-A leader said in the rural areas, the elongated Zanu-PF rule is characterised by “ubiquitous under development, deadening impoverishment occasioned by marginalisation, dilapidation of infrastructure, a sense of being forgotten and only to be remembered during elections where they are given crumps falling off the tables of the rich, mighty and powerful”.
Giving examples of places like Chingwizi and Chiadzwa, he said citizens are not happy with the way national resources are being exploited leaving them with nothing to show.
Other concerns, he said, came from civil servants like teachers and nurses who accused the government of treating them like “watery milk” yet they are being seen as’ cream in foreign nations where their expertise is being sought after like gems and jewels abroad.
“But we assured citizens that our people’s government will deal with corruption decisively. There will be gnashing of teeth and those without teeth there will be gnashing of gums. This is why we are emphasising on bringing of citizens back at the center of decision making in both community and national development. The hope is real, tangible, illuminated and people are so determined to see change coming,” he said.
“The pre-colonial liberation effort was collective; we crossed the border to carry the gun to liberate ourselves. It is now time to cross the borders in the mind and the hearts, to move from apathy to participation, from being passive to being active citizens. Under this new consensus the new gun is your X, the new bullet is the ballot paper. Let’s get ready for the war against poverty. Let’s get ready for the war against violence. Let’s get ready for the war against repression. The war is real,” he added.