“Honey Time,” A Moving Encounter With Nelson Chamisa
I passed through the Caravan in Zvishavane this morning. An open space that sells delicious sadza, nyama and vegetables. We were served by Jocelyn Ndlovu. She resembled the ordinary hard working women trying to eke a living under ZANU PF’s destructive economic policies.
I was in town for the MDC Alliance’s 56th rally which was held today. It was not a surprise, that most of the customers that flooded the Caravan were in red. You could feel the ecstasy in the air that President Chamisa was coming to town.
After our meal, we drove through the city. The songs belting from people’s cars were about change. The color was red. The talk was Chamisa. As we approached the open space behind Pick and Pay, the rally venue, we were greeted by vibrant young people. They were singing, ‘Chamisa is an inheritance from our mighty father’.
I saw Honorable Amos Chibaya, after 55 rallies I expected him to be exhausted. But no. He said to me, ‘I am iron. I feel I can go for 2 more months’. This team is full of energy and believe it Chibaya has come of age. Give it to him.
I saw people from all walks of life. The blind, the old and the young, men and women, those living with disabilities, blacks and whites. Chamisa brought them together. The regalia was not as bright. The party has little money. However, it has people and a spirit of steel.
The man of the moment, Chamisa, finally arrived at exactly 1330hrs. The crowd went wild. Some wept. I could not believe it. The last time I saw people crying after seeing Chamisa was in 2011 at the Bulawayo party congress when he addressed the youth assembly. Remember those days! Well, the Chamisa moment in Zvishavane today was like something you could touch, smell and eat. They shouted he is ‘honey’! Reader, honey is sweet.
It was time for speeches.
The national youth Chair, Chidziva, got a standing ovation. He said ZEC and Mnangagwa should not backtrack on electoral reforms. He ended his speech by urging youths to be ambassadors of peace. Then came Lynette Karenyi, the national women assembly chair. A gifted leader. She said women must defend the vote and that there is no going back. As she delivered the speech, Chamisa noticed someone in the crowd. He waved at him. They exchanged smiles. He can connect.
The rally reached its crescendo when Chamisa stood up at 1415 hours to deliver his message. He was statesman like. He no longer moved from one corner of the stage to another. Guess what, he even had the SMART policy blue print on the lectern. What was the message? He spent more time on governance. He emphasised devolution of power, de-tribalising the names of provinces, establishing an e-government, making Gweru the administrative capital.
Reader, if you aimed to be deputy Minister just forget. Chamisa said deputy ministers to be abolished and a leaner government will be in place which is less costly. He promised to fight corruption viciously and restore executive powers to the mayors.
He intelligently appealed to the levers of state power. He left the soldiers, civil servants, police, war veterans and traditional leaders with nothing to fear under the Chamisa government. Hoping they can return the favour by allowing transfer of state power if Chamisa wins. It is politics. It will be sugar and honey all over, they were told with powerful charisma. The cash crisis will be resolved within 14 days through dealing with issues of confidence and trust. The crowd loved it. In line with his modernisation vision, a tractor in every village, solar panels in the rural areas, bullet trains and motorways. A provincial member who sat behind me whispered, ‘I can visualise it’.
Reader, Chamisa has the gravitas to make the people and nation dream with him.
He also took time to condemn ZEC over the opaque ballot printing process. He raised reservations about the ballot and the ordering of names on the ballot which is meant to give Mnangagwa an unfair advantage by placing him on the top. The Electoral Act is clear that it must be alphabetical. Chamisa was clear that he will not accept a ballot from ‘nowhere’. This is a serious matter. In authoritarian states the ink disappeared on the ballot paper in opposition strongholds within a few minutes after voting. These are not folk tales. Remember, Ukraine in 2004. This is the trend in competitive electoral authoritarian states the world over. Well, enough of my theories. 1543 hrs the boy from Gutu was done with the speech.
President Chamisa then asked those who were willing to pray with him. In his prayer with the crowd, he asked the Lord for peace to prevail and thanked the Lord for the strength to fight people who hold guns. One of the attendees said, ‘I have spiritually connected with the President. He is my President’. Well, I understand little about this. But wait, during the prayer, Chamisa’s eyes were closed. Remember ED would not close his rallies during prayers at ZANU PF rallies. Perhaps a young man at peace versus the old and insecure. For when he asked the crowd whether they wanted the young or the old they clamoured for the young. Beyond age, he contrasted himself with Mnangagwa on corruption record, human rights abuse and adultery. He pitched it as a choice between the good and the bad, the dirty and the clean.
Reader, yes there were multitudes of people but do they vote? I asked Makwasha, an MDC alliance candidate for council. He said, ‘I helped 4 900 people to register to vote in my ward only’.
As we drove to YaFM, a community radio in Zvishavane, after the rally, Chamisa said to me, ‘this is the largest crowd we have ever addressed in Zvishavane. This time the people are registered voters and we are expecting nothing short of victory’. For the time we drove together, he referred to Morgan Tsvangirai more than 10 times. He said he draws inspiration from MT and he is just finishing off the struggle. He described Morgan as ‘a visionary of all times, a trailblazer, pathfinder and pacesetter’.
At YaFm he was interviewed by Forbes Mugadza. Some of the journalists screamed upon seeing Chamisa. They could not wait for a photo moment. ‘I cannot wait to change my profile picture’, said one young lady at YaFm. Well, it was time to go. A message of change had been delivered with unrivalled charisma. No wonder the people of Zvishavane said they were going to eat sugar and honey in Chamisa’s new Zimbabwe.
It is change that delivers fast, they said.
Dr. P.Zamchiya Pres1zamchiya@gmail.com
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