MDC supporters demand military training, guns

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By Matebeleland North Correspondent

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa should consider recruiting youths for military training if he was entertaining any thoughts of taking over power in Zimbabwe, the party’s supporters in Matebeleland North have said.

Angry party supporters still smarting from government’s decision to ban countrywide demonstrations and the deployment of the military in January this year and August last year that left at least 20 people dead called on the opposition leadership “to wake up and smell the coffee.”

They were contributing views at a feedback meeting held by MDC MPs, party national spokesperson Daniel Molokele (Hwange Central) and Godfrey Dube (Hwange West).

The opposition party supporters said they were ready to fire back at State security officials if capacitated with guns. The meeting was held at Chinotimba Hall in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

“There is no constitutionalism in Zimbabwe and as such Chamisa should be allowed to have his own army. We are all trained one way or the other in security skills. We know how to hold a gun and fire it.

“We suggest that Chamisa should recruit youths and train them so that they all have guns and if the army shoots at us we all shoot back,” said a supporter.

Another supporter who contributed at the meeting said Chamisa should be aware that becoming a president in Zimbabwe will never be a walk in the park.

“Chamisa will never rule this country without using the gun. (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa took it with the gun and Chamisa should do the same,” he said.

The opposition party supporters said the Mnangagwa government fears allowing citizens to demonstrate against deepening economic crisis will expose the ruling Zanu-PF calling on Chamisa to “man-up and lead from the front.”

“Victoria Falls is small and almost everyone knows each other hence when we demonstrate, it’s easy for them to pick us. Chamisa should come and lead the demonstrations here so that when they beat us the whole world will see,” said a supporter.

Another one said: “Since government is now in the habit of blocking MDC demonstrations, the party should engage professional bodies such as teachers who should apply for demonstrations and we back them as a party because Zanu-PF fears we will take over power.”

Some called for dialogue between Chamisa and Mnangagwa.

“People from this region are afraid of demonstrating because they still remember how Mnangagwa killed people during the Gukurahundi. So Chamisa should engage Mnangagwa,” he said.

Some 20 000 people were killed by a crack military unit in the early 1980s in what became known as Gukurahundi. Then President Robert Mugabe at the time argued he wanted to pacify dissident activities across Matebeleland.

Mnangagwa served as Intelligence Minister at the time.

The meeting was convened by Hwange Central MP Daniel Molokele Mguni who is MDC Alliance spokesperson and Hwange West MP Godfrey Dube.

Molokele said the meeting was about gathering people’s views about the party’s concept of demonstrations to effect change.

“The meeting was to talk about use of diplomatic and political pressure, national transitional mechanism, comprehensive reform, electoral reforms as we seek to educate our people before we plan a demonstration.

“As MDC we are non-violent and peaceful and we have heard what our supporters have said about guns and army but that’s something that if they so want, can also be spoken about at a congress,” Molokele said.

Two weeks ago Chamisa told a campaign rally in Glen View South Harare that his party has not resorted to the use of arms to seek power because it has values steeped in democracy.

“The fact that we have not used guns is not because we do not have the capacity. It is only because we are democratic and seek power through constitutional means. I can hold and fire a gun,” said Chamisa.