Cyclone Idai: MDC sets up command centres for supporters and victims

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By Leopold Munhende

THE opposition MDC’s national standing committee Wednesday, announced it had set up “command centres” in cyclone ravaged Manicaland to provide relief for its supporters and victims of Cyclone Idai.

In resolutions passed at a meeting in Harare, the MDC led by 41 year-old lawyer Nelson Chamisa did not provide reasons for its shock move.

“Families are still mourning their loved ones who passed away due to the aggression by Cyclone Idai while others are still searching for missing ones.

“We commiserate with the survivors. In this respect, the standing committee received a report on efforts being made by the party in assisting the victims. These include the setting up of two command centres which have been receiving food and non-food items primarily from MDC members,” the communiqué said.

There have been howls of disapproval from the MDC and other civil society groups after images of people in Zanu PF regalia as well as ruling party officials circulated on social media distributing aid meant for cyclone survivors amid reports the ruling party had hijacked the whole process.

Reports also claimed government and Zanu PF officials were denying suspected opposition activists and supporters aid as well as relief items.

Cyclone Idai ripped through south eastern Manicaland last month killing hundreds in Chipinge and Chimanimani and displacing thousands while hundreds more are still unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, the MDC revealed Chamisa will soon be launching new economic and dialogue policies following a series of private visits to a number of African countries.

Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume in a telephone interview with said Chamisa had drawn inspiration from his continental sojourn that took him to West and East Africa and well as some countries in the region.

“We are going to launch a document on dialogue, comprehensive dialogue which expands the five point plan.

“We are going to launch an alternative economic policy called Reload based on the diplomatic engagement by the president,” said Mafume.

“The diplomatic mission went on very well, he (Chamisa) indicated that he spoke to a number of countries.”

Early last month, Chamisa embarked on secret trips to countries in East and West Africa that reportedly took him to Gabon, Ghana and Ethiopia where it is believed he met Africa Union (AU) chairperson Moussa Faki.

Faki has not commented on the reports he met Chamisa.

Late last month, Chamisa travelled to neighbouring Botswana where he met the country’s former President Ian Seretse Khama.

Khama is reportedly plotting either a political comeback or to support a rival candidate ahead of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party 9BDP) currently led by his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The MDC leader claimed the visits were to ‘sensitise the continent on the situation in Zimbabwe.’

Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda, now back to his UK base, has claimed Chamisa is refusing to disclose the African leaders he met for fear of breaking “diplomatic protocol”.

Mafume however said Chamisa would release the names of those he met soon.

“He will release the names (of the people he met) and countries he has been to in due course but we are very happy with the process and they (countries) are really engaged in the Zimbabwean situation,” the MDC spokesperson said.

Last week, Chamisa charmed former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo who attended the launch of a book he co-authored with MDC deputy chair Tendai Biti with the former military ruler telling his 41-year-old host ‘you have a great job to do in Africa.”