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Zimbabwe: opposition faces challenges but won't give up (Chamisa)

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, addresses party supporters   -  
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Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP


Zimbabwe's opposition faces many challenges, including "political violence" two weeks ahead of the August 23 presidential and parliamentary elections, but will not give up, promised its leader Nelson Chamisa on Tuesday evening.

Speaking at the launch of his party's manifesto in Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, Mr. Chamisa said that the ruling Zanu-PF was in "panic mode" and was "resorting to dirty tactics", including "political violence", because the opposition was gaining ground.

"We will fight them in the courts, we will fight them at the ballot box and, if necessary, we will fight them in the streets. We won't give up because we (...) have the support of the people, but above all God is on our side," said Chamisa, a 45-year-old lawyer and pastor.

Pledging to rebuild the country around what he calls "citizenocracy", a democracy based on citizens, Mr. Chamisa said he wanted to restore it on the basis of modernization and reconciliation.

"We are going to move from being a basket case to the breadbasket we once were," he promised hundreds of delegates from his "Triple C" Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

Far from the organized "plundering" carried out, according to him, by the party in power since the country's independence in 1980, he wants to revive the economy.

He referred in particular to Douglas Mwonzora, of the opposition MDC party, who announced his withdrawal from the race earlier in the day and described the elections as a "farce", citing an "unfair playing field".

The electoral commission had just disqualified his party's 87 legislative candidates for failing to pay registration fees on time.

"There is no doubt that this election is neither free nor fair. The electoral management body has not shown the expected impartiality and fairness, acting in a vindictive and partisan manner," Mr. Mwonzora explained to the press. "We boycott this farce, we boycott this sham".

After several banned meetings, the CCC was finally able to launch its campaign last month in Gweru (north-west), where Nelson Chamisa promised to present a manifesto that would lay the foundations for a Zimbabwe "for everyone".

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