By Leopold Munhende
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Saturday went down memory lane, describing how he as an individual and his party were subjected to years of brutality by then State President Robert Mugabe.
Chamisa was addressing thousands of party faithful at the MDC’s 20th anniversary celebrations held at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on an afternoon Mugabe was also being buried in his rural Zvimba village.
The 41-year-old politician chronicled the episodes they went through earlier as students of the firebrand Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) and after they had left student politics to join mainstream politics as MDC.
“We were once called to State House by President Robert Mugabe after demonstrations where he asked us what exactly we wanted,” said Chamisa.
“We just told him we wanted access to basics, we did not want power.
“He told us that there was no money to which we answered, he should use money he had used to send soldiers to DRC. He then told us to shut up and get out as we were discussing politics.
“Before we left, he told us not to speak to the media but Job Sikhala (now MDC vice national chair) spoke to the media. I cannot describe just how bad we were beaten.”
Chamisa did not say when this happened.
The MDC leader also touched on the period the MDC had been formed and the battles they went through as a party under a brutal Mugabe regime.
He also spoke on the violence the party was subjected to during the 2008 presidential run-off election following Mugabe’s humiliating lost to Tsvangirai in the first round of the poll.
During the period, Mugabe unleashed his militant supporters, the army and state intelligence agents to intimidate, kill and maim people they suspected to have voted for Tsvangirai.
In past statements he had made publicly, Chamisa has said it was unAfrican to speak ill of someone when they are being mourned.
When Mugabe died, Chamisa chose to look at the good side of him, in the process inviting anger from some unforgiving party supporters who strongly felt Mugabe was too tainted to deserve any respect.
In his own address to the MDC crowd, party deputy president Tendai Biti said one of the greatest thinga the party has achieved in its 20 years of existence was to withstand the violence that was directed at the main opposition by Mugabe.