Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has reportedly vowed that opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC party leader Nelson Chamisa “will never take over as president” of the southern African country.
According to the privately owned Standard newspaper, Chiwenga said this while addressing Zanu-PF supporters gathered for a “thank you rally” in Zvimba over the weekend.
“We hear that this young preacher (Chamisa is going around telling people that he is on his way to State House. That is wishful thinking. There is no vacancy at State House now and forever for opposition parties,” Chiwenga said, describing Chamisa as “a little bishop”.
Chamisa is an Apostolic Faith Mission pastor.
Chiwenga’s remarks came a few weeks after Chamisa reportedly said that he was “rallying his supporters countrywide” to unseat Mnangagwa “peacefully”, following the country’s disputed elections in July.
The southern African nation’s top court in August dismissed the MDC’s bid to have presidential elections annulled over alleged rigging in favour of Mnangagwa.
In a unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Luke Malaba dismissed the application with costs after strongly criticising the legal challenge, AFP reported.
Lawyers for the MDC opposition had argued that the results should be annulled due to alleged “massive doctoring” of the vote.
Mnangagwa won the election with 50.6% of the vote – just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.
But, according to NewsDay, an adamant Chamisa maintained that he won the elections and “he was not going to wait for the 2023 general elections to face off with Mnangagwa”.
“We won, but they announced something different. Now, do we wait for 2023 while we know that we won the election? Is that possible? Now we are in the process of organising our supporters in the country so that we all have one aim, to say ‘what we voted for should be respected; the results that were announced are your own problem, but the vote of the people should be respected’,” Chamisawas quoted as saying.
He said he was working on a “grand plan” to have Mnangagwa removed.