MDC Alliance leaders stampede to defend their under-fire leader




In this Thursday, March 8, 2018 photo, the leader of MDC-T, Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party, Nelson Chamisa gestures during an interview with the Associated Press in Harare. Ahead of Zimbabwe's crucial elections this year, the biggest opposition party has selected a charismatic lawyer and pastor to challenge the military-backed president in the first vote without former leader Robert Mugabe in decades. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

MDC Alliance co-principals have stood in defence of coalition leader, Nelson Chamisa who has come under fire for his unguarded name dropping tendencies and for issuing superfluous promises if voted State President.

Since launching his presidential bid a few months ago, Chamisa has been linked to threats to throw Chinese businesses out of Zimbabwe and claims Donald Trump and his US government have pledged a $15 billion stimulus package for an MDC led government.

Zimbabwe’s youngest presidential hopeful has also been scorned for promising to marry off his 18 year old sister to President Emmerson Mnangagwa should the latter scrap a 5 percent vote in the July elections.

Lately, Chamisa was forced to defend claims he had a hand in the crafting of Rwanda’s ICT policy, something that elicited a denial from the east African country’s President, Paul Kagame.

Chamisa has also promised to introduce bullet trains and airports if elected President, something which his critics find as too ambitious given the country’s rundown infrastructure, massive jobless and an economy that is on its knees.

But speaking in separate interviews, leaders of parties that have signed up to the seven party pact said they were firmly behind their presidential candidate whom they said was being vilified by a pro-Zanu PF state media.

Former finance minister and PDP leader Tendai Biti said he supported Chamisa “2 million percent” adding that most of the latter’s statements were being twisted.

“Absolutely, 2 million percent,” he said, “It’s people who are twisting and tooth picking (messages).

“Look to the substance of our speeches. Listen to our messages.”

People First leader Agrippa Mutambara said at no time have they felt any uncomfortable with Chamisa’s messaging.

“His (Chamisa) sentiments are being taken out of context,” he said.

“This is just persecution because they see that he is the one who has the momentum at the moment.”

Mutambara said Zanu PF has deployed more than 400 social media users to ensure they discredited Mnangagwa’s main challenger.

The former military boss said Chamisa was right in claims the US pledged $15 billion to an MDC government adding that the US Congress was so powerful that its resolutions were often rubber-stamped by any sitting leader.

Multi-Racial Christian Democrats leader Mattheus Guchutu likened Chamisa to the biblical Joseph who was condemned for dreaming but later silenced his critics.

“I have not seen anything related to overstatements or lies associated with our presidential candidate,” he said.

“If I had any particular problems with him, I would go to him privately and say please improve on this and that.”

He added: “When he spoke of bullet trains, we are saying even in the bible, most of the people who did very well saw beyond the current. You can talk of Joseph; he was called a dreamer and through those dreams, he became the first Prime Minister of Egypt…”

While Chamisa’s rubble rousing statements have made for good sound bites to neutrals, observers say he could be haemorrhaging on a middle class support that is keen to analyse statements made by politicians before committing their votes. – NewZim