Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa - Chamisa a Novice Stretching His Cv - Poor Successor to 'Admirable' Tsvangirai

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa (file photos).

"My opponent is neither the first nor the last political figure to stretch his CV. This is a consequence of holding such high party office when still a relative political novice. That, at least, is plain for all to see."

This was said by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in perhaps his first direct attack on main rival Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition MDC Alliance.

During the course of the campaigning for Monday's crunch election, Mnangagwa has largely refrained from mentioning the 40-year-old MDC Alliance candidate, suggesting perhaps that the Zanu PF leader has little regard for his chief opponent.

However, days before the election, latest opinion polls suggest Chamisa is running Mnangagwa close, in a development that has likely prompted the Zanu PF leader to take his rival head-on.

Writing for the United States' based Washington Times newspaper (read article here), Mnangagwa disparaged Chamisa as an ill-suited successor to MDC-T founding leader and icon Morgan Tsvangirai.

The former prime minister succumbed to cancer in February this year, resulting in Chamisa taking over leadership of the party on bitterly contested circumstances.

"The choice before the country next week is stark," said Mnangagwa.

"This election is making clear that my opponents have a very different understanding and meaning of the word 'change'.

"Up until the untimely passing of the opposition MDC-T's admirable principal -- Morgan Tsvangirai -- the change that party proffered held clarity. At its root was democracy that is both sustainable and certified."

The late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai

Mnangagwa said Chamisa's countrywide campaign which has drawn thousands of supporters at every stop was a wasted effort.

He ridiculed his rival's elaborate plans for bullet trains and so-called so-called spaghetti highways.

"The new opposition leadership has surprised: they have campaigned across all corners of the country and reached out and into districts few might have expected them before.

"But their prospects seem wasted when they talk so much of the past, rather than promoting a cogent platform for the future.

"When they have presented their plans, they are replete with high-speed bullet trains, vast motorway networks, and villages transformed into cities overnight; all complete -- they insist -- in the next five years."

Mnangagwa added; "Of course, it is not my place to question such vaulting ambition -- even when the identities of those who may address the practicalities, or provide the funding, are yet to be revealed.

"Zimbabweans have, however, already been informed that they are not from China: the opposition has announced they will eject Chinese engineers and investors from Zimbabwe once they assume office.

"Whether this is 'visionary', as the leader of the opposition declares, or, as others describe, 'fantasy', it is certainly an original approach.

"Similarly, it is unique for a political leader, as the opposition candidate has repeatedly done, to claim he has been promised $15 billion from the Americans (which they manifestly did not, and have publicly denied ever committing).

"To then contend he guided Rwanda's national ICT development by personally advising that country's head of state provokes incredulity compelling President Paul Kagame to state, on the record, the two have never even met."

"This election is making clear that my opponents have a very different understanding and meaning of the word 'change'.

"Up until the untimely passing of the opposition MDC-T's admirable principal -- Morgan Tsvangirai -- the change that party proffered held clarity. At its root was democracy that is both sustainable and certified."

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