Zimbabwe has enjoyed perhaps the most peaceful campaign in our short history. The recent assassination attempt on the president was out of character and was could be termed an ‘anomaly’.
In fact, the prevailing spirit in Zimbabwe today is so peaceful that even the president responded to this attack with words of love, unity and peace, instead of clamping down on the opposition.
So why does Nelson Chamisa insist on using his dangerous dog whistle? Why does he incite to violence, when the nation yearns for peace?
Let’s not forget the astounding revelations in Newsday a few months ago that he had personally encouraged the Vanguard, his own mini army, to attack and intimidate his opponents within the MDC.
Khupe’s bloody face and intimidated supporters never recovered inside the party (though maybe they did get the last laugh with the recent court decision declaring that Chamisa owed Khupe up to 1.8 million dollars!).
His attitude towards the elections is dangerous and almost guarantees violence. He has said that unless he wins, the elections cannot have been free and fair. This a ludicrous argument as every poll – independent, official and unofficial – shows that he loses in every scenario by quite a margin. Despite this, he continues to fire up his base.
Now, with the realization that defeat is staring him in the face, he has resorted to a kamikaze threat. “We are not going to repeat the mistake of 2013”, he said yesterday, “we would rather be in the grave or in prison if they go ahead”. So, from threatening violence if they lose an election, he has now taken it one step further: He is threatening violence if the elections even take place! “I am prepared to go all the way”, he continued.
Chamisa complains about opaqueness on behalf of ZEC, yet all who have requested the voter roll (including the UK embassy in Harare) have received it, in full! He complains about Mrs. Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba, yet he was on the very parliamentary committee that approved her appointment.
If, as he claims, she is working with Zanu, then why did he support her in the first place? The fact is that the number of irregularities found so far are entirely negligible in a process which is so complex and large. No country in the world (see Bush versus Gore in America!) holds watertight perfect elections. What, however we cannot afford to do, is to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
We live in a reality where our country has made great strides towards real, free and open democracy. We have elections coming up which are being watched by observers from over 20 countries, and regional bodies such as the EU and SADC. In fact, the EU observers are already here and SADC this week gave their stamp of approval on ZEC’s readiness. Why then does Chamisa continue to threaten? Why does he continue to give a dangerous nod and wink to the Vanguard? Why does he incite to violence?
The answer is simple: He is losing.
Desperate for money and desperate for votes, he has resorted to the very method the MDC used to fight against; violence. When I used to play football as a kid, if I was losing, I would lose my temper, maybe even lash out. Until one day my mother stopped me from playing until I learned how to be a good loser.
It is about time Nelson Chamisa learned how to be, as my mother would say, “a good loser”.