Chamisa challenges army boss to back off 2018 elections
The military, which effectively put President Emmerson Mnangagwa into office, must commit to accept his “certain” election defeat, the opposition MDC Alliance has said.
Speaking at a rally in Harare over the weekend, Alliance principal Nelson Chamisa, declared; “Six months from today, we will have a new government”. He however, said Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, must publicly commit to accept the election outcome
General Sibanda was among the senior officers who backed the military intervention that ousted former president Robert Mugabe last month, resulting in Mnangagwa taking over power.
“We want to call Valerio Sibanda on ZTV so that he makes assurances that the army will respect the outcome of the vote,” said Chamisa amid cheers from supporters.
Since taking over power, President Mnangagwa has repeatedly insisted that elections would be free and fair, adding that the international community would be allowed to observe the vote.
But the opposition alliance said it wanted more than mere platitudes from the Zanu PF leader.
“Crocodile (Mnangagwa) does not know what a free and fair election is,” said Chamisa who is represnting he absent Morgan Tsvangirai on the Alliance leadership panel.
“This year, we will pull the ‘crocodile’ from the waters if he fails to implement electoral reforms. If there is no credible voters’ roll, we will not allow the election to go ahead as planned.”
The MDC-T vice president said there must be an agreement between the government and the opposition the new chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
ZEC is without a chairman following the resignation of Justice Rita Makarau in as yet unclear circumstances the ouster of Mugabe.
“We must agree on Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) chairperson replacement and allow the United Nations (UN) to monitor the election.”
Meanwhile Chamisa also hinted at the possibility of a grand opposition coalition against Zanu PF.
“Soon, we will have a convergence tent at the end of February. There is no postponement of the election,” said Chamisa.
Negotiations between the many anti-Zanu PF parties to form one alliance broke down over disagreements on who would presidential candidate.
The collapse in talks resulted in three coalitions, the MDC Alliance as well as two other rival groups led by former vice president Joice Mujuru and another led by former energy minister Elton Mangoma.