MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has psyched up hard-pressed Zimbabweans to liberate themselves from the heavy Zanu-PF yoke which he claims has shrunk the democratic space and deprived citizens of the much-needed breath.
Chamisa, evicted from his party headquarters by his rival Thokozani Khupe of the MDC-T in a bloodless Thursday night raid, yesterday tweeted: “We can’t breathe.”
Apparently, these were the last words by slain African-American George Floyd, who was choked to death by police late last month, triggering unprecedented mass riots against United States President Donald Trump’s administration.
“It’s not about me or the MDC Alliance, it is about the people of Zimbabwe, the democratic space is being choked by Zanu-PF and it is time we act, draw a line in the sand or we will be choked to death,” he said.
“Look at how everyone has become an enemy of the State and under siege, first it was the doctors, then they came after journalists, then lawyers, human rights activists, the whole nation can’t breathe now,” he said.
Human rights watchdogs locally and abroad have raised concern over increased human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, which drew international condemnation.
But Zanu-PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa last week shot down reports of human rights abuses and dictatorship by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, saying there was no repression in the country to justify protests.
He, instead urged Zimbabweans to protest against sanctions imposed by the US government which he claimed had economically choked the southern African nation. His sentiments were, however, dismissed by the opposition and Western diplomats as a sideshow.
The clampdown on human rights defenders climaxed last week with the arrest of Chamisa’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu for allegedly falsifying the signature of a “non-existent” Simbarashe Zuze in a Constitutional Court challenge over the appointment of Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi.
This was later followed by the arrest of his party executives on Friday after they attempted to reclaim their party headquarters sealed off by security forces.
In reference to the Thursday night raid and seizure of his party offices, Chamisa said: “These are desperate attempts by individuals who have realised how desperate their circumstances are. It is a passing phase.
“We know this issue has been visited upon us by our brother Mnangagwa. This is not an MDC issue, but was visited upon us by Mnangagwa. We don’t want this Banyamlenge or Al-Shabaab mentality.
“They come in the dead of the night to take over our party headquarters, are you a witch? It’s very unfortunate, but we are not worried about it because we have been in politics for a long time,” he said.