The Sunday Mail
Senior MDC-Alliance members could dump Mr Nelson Chamisa over his confrontational post-election strategies, and seriously doubt the opposition party has a legal leg to stand on in attempts to have the courts invalidate Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Presidential poll victory.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission last week declared Zanu-PF’s Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner of the July 30, 2018 Presidential elections with 50,8 percent of votes cast to Mr Chamisa’s 44,3 percent.
Mr Chamisa has said he will challenge the results in court, premising his suit on V11 forms from polling stations, and V23 forms.
Information at hand shows the MDC-Alliance did not post agents in at least 200 polling stations and thus does not have V11 forms. Further, scores of agents have refused to hand over the forms because the party has failed to pay them for their work.
A V11 form is an original document carrying results from a polling station and is signed by agents of all contesting parties.
After signing, the data is recorded on a V23 form and then forwarded to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s National Results Centre.
Because Mr Chamisa is not in possession of all V11 forms, senior Alliance officials insist mounting a court challenge would be both futile and serve to harden Zanu-PF against accommodating them in any administrative arrangement.
The Sunday Mail has it on good authority that last week, MDC-Alliance principal Mr Tendai Biti and Messrs Elias Mudzuri (deputy president), Douglas Mwonzora (secretary-general), Jameson Timba (chief election agent) and Murisi Zwizwai (secretary for elections) attempted to reason with Mr Chamisa without success.
Instead, Mr Chamisa opted for a militant approach proffered by his spokesperson Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, Alliance national chair Mr Morgan Komichi and academics who are not party members.
The planks Mr Chamisa wants to build his court challenge on are: the ballot verification process, alleged manipulation of the voters roll, media and observer mission reports, claimed abuse of State resources, vote buying, and intimidation of voters by traditional chiefs.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu has agreed to co-ordinate the legal challenge pro bono because the opposition is broke.
But senior officials – who have also pointed out that the declared results fell within the range projected by Western-funded NGOs the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and Afrobarometer – do not see the poll outcome being overturned on any of the six bases.
By the time of writing, the majority of the feuding opposition executives were not picking their phones.
Mr Timba said, “You have been misled by whoever told you that information. In fact, there is unity of purpose in the party. We are 100 percent behind president Chamisa.”
However, a senior official said: “Biti and others asked Chamisa to show them what evidence he would take to the courts. They know that such evidence does not exist. Chamisa accused them of being Zanu-PF agents.
“The exchanges have been very heated. Biti does not see why he should throw his lot in with someone who all senior party members believe is sabotaging any chance of creating a GNU (Government of National Unity) because of his stubbornness.
“Biti says Chamisa does not understand the psyche of Zanu-PF and is relying on politically inexperienced people to determine the opposition’s fate,” a senior MDC-Alliance official said.
A member of Mr Chamisa’s national executive added: “Has anyone noticed that none of the principals are standing by Chamisa at his media conferences? They don’t agree with the route he is taking.
“He has also lost the support of (Shakespeare) Mukoyi, who he wanted to instigate rowdy street protests in the coming week. Mukoyi does not see why party members should put themselves on the line against the security apparatus when Chamisa can simply take a course of action that could lead to peaceful co-existence with Zanu-PF and the State.”
Another official said, “Biti’s position is that there’s nothing to fight for anymore. He is looking at survival. He has five people from his party who made it to Parliament under the Alliance and Chamisa is not in Parliament.
“Biti is the only Alliance principal in Parliament. He argues that Zanu-PF cannot be motivated into a GNU by violence and poorly supported court challenges. To a large extent, he believes the path Chamisa is taking will be the end of him and he does not want to sink with him.”
Another issue that has riled senior Alliance officials is the roping in of Kenyan opposition leader Mr Raila Odinga’s aide Silas Jakakimba to advise Mr Chamisa on how to confront Zanu-PF.
Mr Odinga’s supporters unleashed an orgy of violence in Kenya in 2017 after losing elections to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Now Jakakimba is here and there is unease in the Alliance.
Senior officials say if “Jakakimba could not help Mr Odinga win in Kenya, he is of no use in Zimbabwe, which has a totally different political context”.
Jakakimba faces an even bigger problem: Zimbabwe’s police are looking for him for entering the country illegally – and to question him on alleged links to violence unleashed by Mr Chamisa’s supporters in Harare last Wednesday.
Investigations show that Mr Chamisa’s acolytes are planning a mock inauguration for him, much like Mr Odinga’s after his electoral loss.
An official said, “Chamisa knows he cannot mount a credible legal challenge. So he has accepted a ‘3D’ strategy from this Kenyan guy and the militants and academics surrounding him.
“The three D’s are to delegitimise (President-elect) Mnangagwa, delay economic turnaround by nursing political tensions, and derail international engagement.
“What he cannot grasp is that none of this will prod Zanu-PF into accommodating our Alliance.”
Another bone of contention is the Robert and Grace Mugabe-Chamisa business and political romance.
Senior Alliance officials tried before the elections to persuade Mr Chamisa not to cosy up to the former President, and they believe Mr Mugabe’s involvement has only come with the negatives for the opposition.
“I don’t think we gained any votes from Mugabe’s endorsement. If anything, it opened the doorway for the country to know that Chamisa has long benefited financially from a business association with Mugabe and Grace.
“Mugabe tried to destroy the opposition. And we have good reason to believe Mugabe’s involvement cannot be separated from the violence we saw on August 1,” a source said.
There is a basis to this.
On Friday, security sector sources told The Sunday Mail that they were investigating communications from Mr Mugabe’s opulent Blue Roof mansion to Jim Kunaka and Shadreck Mashayamombe, via proxies, on August 1.
Mashayamombe and 20 others have already been arrested in connection with the August 1 violence.