Thousands of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters thronged to the popular Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare braving the scorching afternoon sun and a State-stirred hostile political atmosphere to listen to their leader Nelson Chamisa in his first rally since making a clean break from the MDC.
The police issued strict measures of adherence to the CCC at the rally, in a move critics said was calculated at diminishing numbers.
Although the police mounted barricades on major roads leading to the venue, Chamisa still pulled incredibly huge numbers from across the various regions.
Several police officers arrived at the venue ahead of the event, to observe proceedings from their parked vans.
Their presence did little, in anything, to dampen as a sea of yellow flooded the place. It was so crowded some had to precariously hitch on treetops, goal posts, and car roofs to follow proceedings.
They were chanting the party’s slogan, and swinging yellow flags: “Change in Zimbabwe, Rise Zimbabwe Rise, Build Zimbabwe Build, Vote Zimbabwe Vote,” giving the place an electric mood.
Popular dancehall chanters Ricky Fire and Judgement Yard teaming up with Dendera protégé Tryson Chimbetu serenaded the crowd. Ricky Fire, in particular, sent Chamisa into a frenzied dancing craze whose photograph immediately went viral on the social media. A suspicious internet brownout rendered live streaming of the event virtually impossible.
Last week, the state police appeared in a viral video torturing members of Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change at Harare central police station after being arrested around 3PM in Harare’s central business district.
In announcing the new party, Chamisa promised he will not be rigged in 2023, stating Mnangagwa will this time around claim he was cheated out of office.
Chamisa also slammed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for its disorderly management of the voters roll and failure to address how voters’ names were being moved out of their registered constituencies.
The former ICT minister talked of challenges within the civil service, questioning how the government could allow police officers and soldiers to travel to and back from work in open trucks, exposing them to all aspects of the weather.
He promised handsome remuneration to teachers and all other government employees the moment he clinches victory in the harmonised elections.
“I know that teachers are suffering, workers are suffering,” said Chamisa.
“Teachers are not asking for much, they are just asking government to pay it the same amount they got under (late President Robert) Mugabe, under then finance minister Tenadi Biti but they are now being beaten,threatened, they are now being fired and accused of being sent by Chamisa.
“If people get hungry they have every right to ask for food. Teachers go ahead and get angry, do not be intimidated. The moment we get into governance we will pay you what you were being paid by Mugabe or more because teachers are the backbone of a nation.”
They have been on strike since the start of the first term February 7 and have refused to set foot in a classroom until government concedes to their demands.
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