Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
MDC leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa, yesterday described the violent August 1 demonstrations by his supporters as stupid and uncalled for in a desperate attempt to cleanse himself of blame for the post-election violence that resulted in the death of six people.
Mr Chamisa made the sentiments during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Harare in response to an invitation on Wednesday for him to appear before the Post Election Violence Commission of Inquiry after he was fingered in testimonies as having played a part in the violence.
He said it was impossible for him to have incited the violence as he was not aware of the results and waiting for the announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
This is contrary, however, to Mr Chamisa’s tweets on August 1 alleging that he had won the election and accusing Zec of delaying the results so that they manipulate them on behalf of Zanu-PF.
“Zec seeks to release results to buy time & reverse the people’s presidential election victory. The strategy is meant to prepare Zim mentally to accept fake presidential results. We’ve more votes than ED. We won the popular vote & will defend it !” read Mr Chamisa post.
His other post read:
“THANK YOU ZIMBABWE …I’m humbled by the support you have given to me as a Presidential Candidate. We have won the popular vote. You voted for total Change in this past election! We have won this one together. No amount of results manipulation will alter your WILL #Godisinit.”
On the same day, Mr Chamisa’s spokesperson, Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, also posted on Twitter:
“President Nelson Chamisa @nelsonchamisa ran a strong and committed campaign. He won this and @ZECzim can not rig this election. Zimbabwe will have it’s new beginning.”
In another post on the same day, Dr Sibanda also said:
“Zimbabwe has voted for freedom and change, President Nelson Chamisa @nelsonchamisa as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe aims to bring back our glory, respect and peace. Zimbabweans voted for change.”
On the previous day, Dr Sibanda posted a cryptic post suggesting that his boss had won the elections.
“Congratulations, Mr President, it was a fight well fought,” posted Mr Sibanda.
Yesterday, however, Mr Chamisa said he could not have incited violence as he expected a favourable result.
“In fact how would I incite people on the 31st when I was waiting for the elections elsewhere and I was sure that they were going to declare the proper results and I was ready to go to State House so how does a person who is ready to go to State House find time to incite people and mobilise people to go and burn cars of a country that you want to run. Why would I do that?
“You are talking about an election that has not been declared and why would I even react because I don’t know the election that will be announced. It was very stupid even for the people who demonstrated to demonstrate for the results to be released, it was stupid because they then opened themselves for attacks and for manipulation,” said Mr Chamisa.
“I think who ever demonstrated, they have their right, but I feel that it was not called for and that is my view, I’m not insulting them but I have a right just like any other because it was premature, it was unstrategic and open to be manipulated by the enemies of the people and the enemies of peace, the merchants of violence, the arch bishops of violence.”
Mr Chamisa contested in the Presidential elections under the banner of the MDC Alliance, a coalition of opposition parties, and lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu-PF party.
However, before the announcement of results, MDC Alliance supporters stormed the streets of Harare unleashing violent demonstrations that resulted in destruction of property, loss of life and injury.
President Mnangagwa, after his inauguration, appointed the commission of inquiry into the August 1 violence led by former South African President, Kgalema Motlanthe.
“In the course of the proceedings of the Commission of Inquiry into the 1st August, 2018 post-election violence and hearing of testimony from witnesses, your name was mentioned as among those who played a part in inciting the violence of 1st August, 2018,” read the letter to Mr Chamisa by the Commission.
“The commission considers it fair and just that it should have the benefit of your comments and accordingly is inviting you to come at your convenience on 21 November, 2018 to share your views before concluding its proceedings.”