Zimbabwe's main opposition party wraps up campaigning ahead of polls

Zimbabwe's main opposition party wraps up campaigning ahead of polls

Supporters of Citizens Coalition for Change vow not to accept ruling party win

By Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AA) - Zimbabwe’s biggest opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), held its final rally Monday in the capital Harare, with its leader Nelson Chamisa saying the ruling Zanu-PF party was in panic mode ahead of the country’s general election.

Zanu-PF, or the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, has ruled the southern African nation since independence in 1980.

“Zanu-PF is in panic mode and fearful of this (Wednesday’s) election. The party once said our own party was clueless and was not a party and that it had no constitution, no budget. So you have been made to panic by a bankrupt party,” Chamisa told cheering supporters at an open space behind the popular Rainbow Hotel in Harare.

The open area is well known by opposition activists as Freedom Square, while Zanu-PF calls it Robert Mugabe Square.

Ecstatic supporters of Chamisa sang and danced as they stood in the blazing afternoon sun hopeful of their party’s victory.

“I’m urging everyone to vote for Nelson Chamisa. The CCC is the party that we need because here in Zimbabwe, we have suffered. Nothing good will come out of Zanu-PF, with President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa looting this country’s resources, including gold,” a female supporter who only identified herself as Wenzira told Anadolu.

Another supporter who refused to be named, fearing victimization by the ruling party, said: “For now, we are placing our faith in God. But if Zanu-PF would want to strain our patience any further by trying to rig this election, we are prepared even to die defending our vote,” said the CCC supporter.

Political analyst Gibson Nyikadzino however said it would be disingenuous for Chamisa and his supporters to undermine the outcome of the election.

“What Mr. Chamisa and his supporters are saying -- claiming that they won’t accept the election results, that they won’t recognize them (Zanu-PF) as the winners -- shows that they don’t respect institutions, that the government (holds) transparent elections in the country,” Nyikadzino said.

But Chamisa’s comments at the party’s last campaign rally ahead of the polls confirmed remarks by Zanu-PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa last week when he addressed the media at his party’s headquarters in Harare, saying his party was afraid of losing.

“We don't dream about losing. In fact, we are afraid of losing. That is why we have been working so hard trying to convince the electors to vote for us. We have been courting investors because we are afraid of losing,” he said.

Zimbabweans will head to the polls Wednesday to vote in an election that many hope will end the country's decades-old economic crisis.

But those hopes are being eroded by growing concerns that the polls will be rigged in favor of the Zanu-PF party, which is led by Mnangagwa, the late President Robert Mugabe’s former right-hand man.

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