Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says he is winning the coming elections on 30 July and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his biggest rival in a field of 23, will come a distant second.
“People are very clear on their choices, they know that Mnangagwa represents the past with myself representing the future,” Chamisa said in an interview with French news agency AFP.
“There is no way Mnangagwa is going to beat us, he is going to be a distant second — we are ahead by miles.”
Chamisa said he will ride a wave of youthful optimism emulating Barack Obama in the United States, Emmanuel Macron in France and Justin Trudeau in Canada.
“People are connecting with young leadership,” Chamisa declared. “The world is moving… young people are taking charge, look at France, look at Canada, look at New Zealand — look at the United States.
“Most of the young people out there are connecting with our message, are connecting with my age — they are connecting with the vision I’m articulating.”
Chamisa said his biggest challenge was the irregularities in the election preparation especially the ballot printing.
“Whereas in the past we have seen overt and flagrant violation of human rights, what we are seeing is almost a subtle, subterranean approach,” he said.
Chamisa alleged that issues with the voters roll and ballot papers were examples of “technical violence” and accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of “manipulating the processes”.
“But we are still very optimistic — once we have the printing of the ballot papers in a manner that is transparent, we are going to win hands down,” he said.
Mnangagwa says the elections are just a formality and will be an endorsement of the process he started with the removal of former President Robert Mugabe in November last year.
His focus is on reviving the country’s economy and not politics.
But Mugabe’s top lieutenants Jonathan Moyo and his nephew Patrick Zhuwao have thrown their lot behind Chamisa denying links between Chamisa and former First Lady Grace Mugabe who is reportedly eyeing the vice-presidency under Chamisa.
They say their aim is to oust the military junta because they came to power through a coup.
But the link between Chamisa and Mugabe, even if not true, could scare some of Chamisa’s supporters who want nothing to do with Zimbabwe’s former leader.