United States Congresswoman Karen Bass who was part of the Zimbabwe International Election Observer Mission at the just ended elections says Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa should move on, organize his party and contest the next elections.
Chamisa claims he won the last election but he lost the case at the Constitutional Court. He has rejected the court’s decision and plans to send a petition to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to nullify the ruling.
Asked by the Voice of America what her view was on the stance by Chamisa that he did not recognize President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Bass said: “The courts have ruled, that is the process, and so to not recognize him as President, I don’t know what that means. He is the President, and so I am hoping that they will respond in a peaceful manner and that they will be the peaceful opposition. They did win seats in Parliament, they are in Parliament, they are part of the government.”
When told that Chamisa was adamant he won the elections and believes he is the legitimate president, Bass said: “Well again, I hope the way forward is peaceful opposition. I mean look, look at our situation here. I don’t like our current President and we had a very messy process here in the United States and many people questioned the legitimacy. But he is the President and as long as he is the President, you know I can say I don’t want him to be the President all day long, but I am a member of Congress and I function as part of government and he’s the President. And I am hoping that we’ll be able to change that in 2020 if not before.”
Asked what advice she could give to Chamisa, she said: “My advice would be for him to continue to participate as a Member of Parliament, to expand and organize his base and to run for the presidency again in the next election.”
Chamisa is not a Member of Parliament but his party has 87 members out of 270 in the lower house, 63 elected directly and 24 elected through proportional representation.
British and European Union representatives are said to have approached Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front officials to try to persuade them to adopt the British system where the leader of the opposition is paid a salary by the government.
While ZANU-PF was said to be amenable to this, Chamisa’s supporters are not likely to welcome that as this would be tantamount to being bought out.