By Nancy Samuriwo, HourlyHits Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S main opposition MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa got a shot in the arm with the party’s membership in Namibia pledging R1 million (about US$65,000) for his campaign in the 2023 elections.
However, by comparison, MDC Alliance will have to source more funding to match Zanu-PF which is raising US$140 million for President Mnangagwa’s 2023 campaign. The Zanu-PF figure is over 2 100 times more than R1 million.
Chamisa recently reinvigorated his presidential ambitions after the opposition party was buoyed by the victory of Zambian opposition UPND in the August 12 elections. UPND leader Hakainde Hichelema trounced incumbent President Edgar Lungu by a million votes, and is set to be inaugurated this Tuesday.
The party’s Secretary-General Chalton Hwende announced that Namibian structures have pledged to mobilize financial resources and will also work with the Uzumba constituency in Zimbabwe to turn it against Zanu-PF.
“Yesterday together with other leaders we addressed a meeting of our branch leaders in Windhoek Namibia,” Hwende disclosed on Sunday.
“We launched our Diaspora Rural Mobilization initiative. The Namibia MDC Alliance leadership pledged R1 Millions towards the 2023 Presidential Fund. They also twinned with our Uzumba Constituency and they will provide assistance to turn Uzumba red.”
Uzumba, Maramba and Pfungwe constituencies in Mashonaland Central have always delivered crushing blows to the opposition even during the toughest period for Zimbabwe’s economy in 2008, and the voters are fiercely loyal to the ruling Zanu-PF.
Apart from trying to capture hearts and minds in Uzumba, Hwende said his party is consulting on a regional strategy to implore SADC to apply pressure on Zanu-PF for electoral reforms.
The opposition wants diasporans to be allowed to vote, but Zanu-PF insists that will never happen as long as sanctions by Western allies remain in force.
“The MDC is busy consulting and mobilizing the region and SADC to put pressure on the regime to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to register and vote.
“Everyone in the diaspora must ensure that everyone residing at their rural homestead is registered and more importantly they are assisted to go to their nearest ZEC offices to register,” Hwende said.
Hwende has also urged aggrieved party members to reach out to him instead of washing the party’s dirty linen in public. He said while some party members had genuine concerns, some were spreading rumours about party officials, much to the benefit of rivals in Zanu-PF.
“I understand the frustration (of party supporters) but of late some stories being peddled on Twitter are outright lies created to cause disunity, suspicion and division.
“We are busy recruiting and registering people to vote and such stories help in promoting apathy which benefits Zanu-PF. We are a umited team focused on removing Zanu-PF and its corrupt leadership.
“My appeal to the people is that if you have any suggestion or strategy to help the party and the struggle please call me.”
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance has been accused of pushing for a diaspora vote without demanding an accompanying change of the country’s laws which govern how elections are run.
Zimbabwe uses a polling station based approach where voters can only vast votes in their respective constituencies.
Political analyst Dr Brian Sedze, commenting on the matter, said: “Zimbabwe use ward based voting system which somewhat was adopted to avoid rigging on transporting of ballots.
“How will the diaspora vote when they are out of the ward or is the Parliament pushing for change of that system again?”
Dr Sedze said the associated chaos could see massive rigging, thereby defeating the whole point of having diasporans vote. The solution, he reckoned, was for the MDC Alliance to push for a change in the voting system via Parliament.
“If it’s ward system will it mean disapora will vote only for President then since for presidency it’s one one constituency. If they are still to vote for their wards in the diaspora I see complete chaos as there are thousands of wards to be tallied in hundreds of countries (there are Zimbabweans are in every country).
“What anti-rigging strategy will be deployed since you may find Afhanistan suddenly having 1 million diaspora voters?”
The MDC Alliance lacks capacity to push for legislation in Parliament as it does not command two-thirds majority. □