By Alois Vinga
OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa remains concerned over South Africa’s reluctance to censure its northern ‘wayward’ neighbour, Zimbabwe warning the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach fuelled election rigging and dictatorship across Africa.
After narrowly losing the 2018 presidential election to Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chamisa has made vote rigging claims and approached various local, regional and international organs seeking their interventions.
He has also not recognised Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s legitimate leader.
Among the regional leaders that Chamisa has approached is South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who until last week, had also served a one-year-term as the chairperson of the African Union (AU).
However, none of Chamisa’s appeals have brought him joy adding to his frustrations after several injunctions last year saw him losing his position as the rightful heir to the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidency in the MDC-T, losing scores of MPs and councillors after they were recalled from their public on allegations they were no longer party members.
Others defected to the MDC-T now led by erstwhile colleague Douglas Mwonzora to safeguard themselves from further purges.
To pile more woes on Chamisa, several senior MDC Alliance officials including, co-vice presidents Tendai Biti and Lynnette Kore, vice chairperson Job Sikhala, party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, and hundreds of activists have been arrested in recent months on various charges which the opposition claims are trumped-up charges.
However, in a recent paper titled; “Rigged Elections and The Rise of the Authoritarian Pandemic”, Chamisa decried the let down by neighbouring mature democracies who cannot disappoint Zanu PF due to relations gained during the liberation struggles of the SADC regional countries.
He, however, described such a relationship as “very retrogressive.”
“The problem is counterparts that have a better culture of democracy, like South Africa, show an unhealthy reluctance to censure wayward peers. This is often done under the guise of brotherhood stemming from the liberation struggles,” he lamented.
“This is deeply retrogressive because liberation without proper democracy is meaningless. Maturing and more stable democracies like South Africa should see their peers for what they truly are: reactionary elements that have subverted the essence of liberation of the African people.”
Chamisa observed Africa may have defeated colonial rule, but it was still cowering under the weight of repressive rule because of a few African elites who came in as ‘liberators’.
He said what was happening in Zimbabwe was the trend synonymous in most countries in Africa including Cameroon, where Paul Biya has been at the helm for 39 years and Uganda where Yoweri Museveni continues to hold on to power for more than five terms without following democratic processes.
Chamisa said the regimes in undemocratic countries share a common thread: “they have no tolerance for dissenting voices”.
“Africa cannot afford further corrosion of democracy in this decade,” he said, calling for the establishment of democratic governments elected through “meaningful consent of the people which is transferred transparently by way of free and fair election processes”.