By Leopold Munhende
ONLY a few hours after his rally criticism of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s failure to visit the site of a recent mine disaster that killed 24 artisanal miners in Battlefields, Mashonaland West, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa committed exactly the same ‘crime’ last Saturday.
Chamisa was in Gweru weekend where he addressed thousands of party followers who thronged his “election victory” thank-you rally.
The opposition leader went into his customary condemnation of rival Mnangagwa for deciding to go for his own thank-you rally in Mwenezi the previous weekend and failing to visit the disaster scene even after declaring the tragedy a national disaster.
Describing Mnangagwa’s apparent omission as the act of a failed leader, Chamisa said he would have done better if he was in the position of a sitting state president.
“You all saw what happened in Kadoma, Battlefields; what happened is that government was irresponsible. They failed to do their job. We should not lose lives just like that,” he said.
“If only they (government) had not rigged the (2018 presidential) election, I would have been there as soon as possible; not a situation in which people die and you (Mnangagwa) opt to go to Mwenezi for a rally. That is a failed leader.”
A day after the Mwenezi rally, Mnangagwa’s motorcade was spotted by journalists, who covered the disaster, speeding towards Harare along the highway which links the capital city and Bulawayo.
There were reports he was from his Sherwood farm in Kwekwe, just some few kilometres from the disaster scene.
Using the same road this past weekend, Chamisa also did not care to turn from the highway to visit the spot.
Silvermoon and Cricket Mines where the disaster occurred are a 30 minute drive from the highway linking the country’s two major cities.
Party sources on Monday said the opposition leader was already in Harare while MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his boss was still in Gweru.
“I will advise when we eventually visit the disaster. The president is not yet back. We will be visiting at the appropriate time,” said Mafume.
However, the charismatic opposition leader was Tuesday said to have left the country on a diplomatic offensive in some African countries.
He was widely expected to visit the country’s worst mine disaster in years.
This is after he recently visited families of those gunned down by the army during last month’s anti-government protests and lately, went to condole with the family of late music icon Oliver Mtukudzi.
Attempts to retrieve more bodies of miners who died in the flooded pits still continue to date while eight were rescued alive after a horrific four days submerged up to neck level in the water.
The exact number of artisanal miners who had entered the mine shafts on the fateful night are still not known although government placed the number as 70.