Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Age 45 launches election campaign amid setbacks

Nelson Chamisa is a 45-year-old lawyer and pastor who is planning to take on Emerson Mnangagwa at Zimbabwe’s elections next month. His party says the government has tried to stop more than 90 of its rallies.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa launched his election campaign on Sunday after multiple bans of planned rallies.

Chamisa promised to tackle corruption and end the ruling elite’s misuse of the country’s mineral resources.

“All we see is poverty, unemployment and millions going to the diaspora,” he told a large crowd of supporters in Gweru, some about 300 km (186 miles) southwest of Harare.

Chamisa vows to overcome government crackdowns
Chamisa’s party, the Citizens Coalition for Change, claimed the government had blocked over 90 of its rallies since the group was founded early last year.

Thousands of supporters of the Citizens Coalition for Change attended the campaign launch in GweruImage: Zinyange Auntony/AFP/ Getty Images

“They have been banning our campaigns, but no one will ban us from people’s hearts,” Chamisa said to thunderous applause in Gweru.

He is hoping to achieve an unprecedented victory in local, parliamentary, and presidential elections on August 23.

“You cannot stop an idea whose time has come,” he said. “They can stop our meetings but they cannot stop people from loving me.”

Who is Nelson Chamisa?
Chamisa is a 45-year-old politician, lawyer and pastor.

He became Zimbabwe’s youngest-ever presidential candidate in 2018’s disputed poll.

That election was won by Emerson Mnangagwa, who took over from strongman ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017 after a military coup.

Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party has been in power since Zimbabwe became an independent country in 1980.

It has been widely accused of human rights violations and cracking down on dissent.

Source: DW, AFP, Reuters