By Staff Reporter
THE spirit of the MDC will not die despite the sustained and determined efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to destroy the movement, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has said.
In statement ahead of the MDC’s anniversary Saturday, 11 September, Chamisa reflected on how state institutions have made repeated attacks on his MDC formation March last year.
The MDC was formed in 1999 with Morgan Tsvangirai as the founding president. Tsvangirai died in 2018.
However, the movement has since split in various formations with Chamisa leading one and Douglas Mwonzora fronting the MDC-T.
Chamisa said the ruling Zanu PF wanted to force his formation into extinction because the oppressor despised a strong alternative.
“Over the past year, we have seen a sustained and determined effort by the people’s oppressors to undermine and destroy the movement,” he said.
“This is because the oppressor despises a strong alternative. The oppressor prefers the outdated politics of the one-party state. The oppressor has used surrogates masquerading as opposition to impersonate us, usurp the people’s assets and to expel people’s lawfully-elected political representatives from elected bodies.
“They have even diverted public funds that we rightfully earned based on our performance in the 2018 elections. This money is dished out to their preferred opposition. The idea is to suffocate us politically and financially and drive us into extinction.
But they are suffering a fundamental delusion. They mistake buildings for institutions. They confuse money for votes. They erringly believe that a name and an idea are the same thing. They focus on materials, not ideas. They do not realise that the idea that holds us together transcends buildings, titles, labels, entitlements, emoluments or money.”
He said the painful reality, which the governing party had discovered was that each time it stamped its “hard boot upon us is that the movement that was established in 1999 is etched in the hearts and minds of the citizens”.
“It does not die because a judicial officer has made a controversial pronouncement. It is not erased from the hearts and minds of citizens because a partisan officer of Parliament has made an unfair decision to expel a duly elected MP.
“It does not become redundant because a corrupted or partisan minister has decided to divert resources to their favoured ones. It does not wither because some excitable “willing tools” of the ruling party are wearing stolen robes.
“It is a way of life that cannot be changed on the whim of a politician whose primary mission is to expunge a genuine opposition from the political landscape, replacing it with a government ‘created opposition.’”
Chamisa said this is the reason why the MDC had survived despite the enormous obstacles that have been thrown on its path.
“The idea has retained persuasive value and authority among the people. Even its critics and detractors cannot afford to ignore it. Babies born in 1999, when we started, have since reached adulthood.
“Their struggles have mirrored the struggles of the movement which resonates with their dreams and aspirations. It gives me enormous satisfaction seeing young Zimbabweans, some born shortly before or after its formation, taking ownership of the idea that it represents.
“They had the choice to take the easy path, becoming part of the gravy train. But no, they chose the hard path, identifying with the movement that they know is dedicated to a more progressive way of governing the country bequeathed to them by their forebears. The “great” in Zimbabwe cannot be purchased by trinkets from the ruling establishment.
“Each time they knock us down using underhand blows, we rise and stand strong. Not even the attempt to impersonate us will succeed. You can steal a label, but you cannot steal character. Citizens can see through the political gimmicks. They can identify the grain from the chaff.”
Turning to Zambia’s presidential elections that were recently won by an opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, said his win reminds the MDC the pursuit of democracy required a principled leadership based on resilience, consistency and strategy.
“He (Hichilema) did not stop because the opposite side had thwarted him several times before. He did not give up because he was being persecuted. He did not throw in the towel because they were naysayers who said it was impossible. We draw great lessons and inspiration from that experience.”