If anybody had doubts about Nelson Chamisa’s pedigree, his conduct and articulateness in the face of a fact-seeking audience at the citadel of higher education in Oxford today should have totally swayed them.
Fresh from a successful rally in Bedford on Sunday a buoyant Chamisa made an appearance at Oxford where he faced a roomful of intellectuals with a special interest on Zimbabwe. The moderator began by asking Chamisa about the legacy of Morgan Tsvangirai to which Chamisa responded by pointing to Tsvangirai’s quest for unity and his humility to continue to seek to engage all Zimbabweans. He also spoke about Tsvangirai’s legacy as a trade unionist which he said was hinged on peace and non-violence.
Chamisa was also confronted with the question of leadership in MDC.
“We were unfortunate that we lost our icon Mr Tsvangirai at a crucial time and we have had to make sure that we put in place a vehicle that is able to win elections particularly in the context of a broad alliance and a grand national union. So we have had to form alliances with seven other political parties, and within that context we have had certain leaders that were not comfortable with the arrangement. It is so surprising how unity has become a source of disunity. This pursuit of unity has also caused other members not be comfortable with certain arrangements. But we need alliance with other parties.”
It is so surprising how unity has become a source of disunity
Chamisa was also asked about the challenges that MDC was facing in building a coalition. He acquited himself well when he was confronted by the question of how he was going to handle China especially in the backdrop of his supposed intention to kick China out of Zimbabwe. Chamisa said he was not targeting any particular countries but he would seek mutually beneficial transactions across the world.
“Let us do business on the basis of set values and norms; good governance, human rights observance, non-exploitation of citizens” added Chamisa.
Still on Foreign policy Chamisa added that Zimbabwe needed to be re-integrated into The Commonwealth and the global world as a whole.
On the military’s continued role in civilian politics, Chamisa said it was concerning to him. He however also alluded to the fact that there are also a number of soldiers that are professional whom he believe would respect the will of the people.
“The ballot must be protected by the bullet not for the bullet to undermine the ballot”.
On Marijuana Chamisa said it was a hasty policy that was churned without the involvement of the people.
“We do not know the views of the people on this, we are going to review this.”
On the Zimbabwe Diaspora, Chamisa said MDC respected the resilience and work ethic of Zimbabweans who are making a mark across the world. He said his government will put in place a framework for skill repatriation into the country and pointed out that MDC was already in the process of setting up a skills database.
Chamisa then capped the evening with his views on the judiciary. He said that he feels at the moment he thinks Zimbabwe has a judiciary that has the necessary latitude to deliver on the bench.
“We cannot condemn the whole basket because there are a few bad apples”
Those interviewed after the address expressed optimism. One Chipo Madungure said she had come with an open mind but after listening to Chamisa, she has made her mind up.
“I will be in Zimbabwe in July and for sure I am voting this man” She declared with an emphatic grin.