Criticism grows over Chamisa’s SADC roadmap proposal

Some Zimbabweans have expressed dismay over former opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s statements regarding engagements with SADC over the Zimbabwean election crisis.

In his address yesterday, Chamisa stated that resolving the issues from the August 2023 elections is imperative before proceeding to the 2028 elections.

He emphasised that he would not consider political participation in 2028 until the last election’s issues have been addressed.

Participating on “This Morning on Asakhe,” a discussion on the need for SADC intervention in the 2023 Zimbabwe elections, Douglas Mandaza criticised Chamisa’s approach, stating that it seemed out of touch with the current sentiments of the people.

“It’s nine months down the line, people have moved on. He abandoned the party after frustration and stopped the politics. Now he is coming in for SADC to go and do a roadmap. It seems like he is working backwards to remain relevant to the political discourse,” Mandaza said.

Mandaza suggested that Chamisa needs to unite with other opposition members to devise a collective solution rather than pursuing individual action.

“Nine months to try and change things is not going to work. People have moved on. He can’t make a solution by himself. He needs to come together with all opposition members and civic groups to develop a collective strategy, not pursue individual efforts to force SADC’s hand. This approach feels like kindergarten politics,” he said.

Another participant, Bashona, accused Chamisa of manipulating public opinion.

“We need to be clear about people who want to lead us. Nelson Chamisa is not an amateur in Zimbabwean politics. He joined at a young age and understands what needs to be done. He knows when and how it should be done. He is a well-trained lawyer who understands Zimbabwean politics. He has been playing with our minds, reacting to how people have been accepting Job Sikhala in recent weeks,” said Bashona.

Bashona added, “Chamisa is worried that his supporters are now sympathising with Job Sikhala. There is nothing new in what he is saying that he didn’t say in 2018. It’s the same story with a different jacket. Another press statement might come in a few weeks just to keep you discussing his plans, but the reality is that the opposition has been in power in many towns and cities for 23 years. Show us what they have done to improve the electorate’s lives today.”

Another speaker highlighted Chamisa’s missed opportunity to address the election issues promptly after the 2023 elections.

“This is a man many of us voted for in 2018 and 2023. At some point, we have to be honest. Chamisa should have acted immediately after the elections. The iron should have been struck while it was hot. Now, it’s difficult to bend the iron when it has lost its heat,” the speaker said.

“As long as we keep talking about change through meetings, we are out of touch with what the streets are saying.”

Bekithemba questioned the purpose of Chamisa’s statements. “As a follower and supporter, what was the purpose of that press statement? We know how SADC behaves.”

Tsepang Nare criticised Chamisa for abandoning his political party before SADC had responded to the raised concerns.

“Chamisa sought SADC’s indulgence, which was a good move. But then he decided to leave the party. Why did he leave when the issues were raised with SADC? He should have waited for SADC to adjudicate and assist since he realized some things were beyond his power.”

Nare also questioned Chamisa’s sincerity and called for clarity regarding his stance on recognizing the head of state.

“Chamisa talks about a roadmap to fix the country, but we don’t need to go to the next elections with the baggage of 2023 still hanging. He mentions intercessors, religious communities, and CSOs, but we’ve been down this road before. What is new this time around?” Nare said.

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