Chamisa’s Dangerous Gamble: A Page from the Jim Jones Playbook

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Zimbabwe is once again at a crossroads, as opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has called for mass demonstrations and the shutting down of borders, beginning on the 23rd of October 2023. This move, purportedly in response to the results of the August 23 harmonized elections, won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, threatens to plunge the nation into chaos and lawlessness. Chamisa’s approach is alarmingly reminiscent of the infamous cult leader Jim Jones, who led his followers to a mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. While the circumstances may be different, the parallels are undeniable.

 

In 1978, Jim Jones infamously orchestrated a mass suicide of over 900 of his followers in Jonestown. His charismatic leadership and manipulation coerced his followers into taking their own lives, creating an unthinkable tragedy. Similarly, Chamisa’s recent call for mass protests and the shutting down of borders raises concerns about his intentions and the consequences of his actions. While it is not a literal mass suicide, his tactics could lead CCC supporters  into a self-destructive path.

 

Chamisa’s call for mass demonstrations is particularly troubling given the history of violence that marred the country’s elections, such as the tragic events of August 1, 2018. On that day, supporters of the opposition engaged in violent protests, leading to the deployment of law enforcement agents and the unfortunate loss of lives. These events serve as a stark reminder of the potential dangers of mass protests spiraling out of control.

 

It is essential for Zimbabweans to be cautious and resist following Chamisa down a perilous path. Resorting to legal and constitutional means for addressing grievances is the hallmark of a democratic society. Zimbabwe has institutions in place to address electoral disputes, and these avenues should be explored thoroughly before taking to the streets.

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Chamisa’s agenda, it seems, goes beyond addressing electoral concerns. By creating this false constitutional and political crisis through violent mass protests, he may be attempting to force the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to intervene and put Zimbabwe on its agenda. Such a move could have far-reaching consequences for the nation and its people. It’s imperative for Zimbabweans to recognize the potential consequences of this dangerous game.

 

Social media is ablaze with posters and messages advocating the shutdown of borders and mass violent protests from the 23rd of October. This approach aims to cripple the administrative and economic systems of the country and potentially invite foreign intervention. However, it’s important to question whether such foreign intervention, particularly in the form of regime change, would truly serve the interests of the nation and its people.

 

Chamisa’s actions are concerning, and they have the potential to create a crisis of monumental proportions. Zimbabweans should heed the warning signs and choose a more peaceful and constitutional path for addressing their grievances. Resorting to violence and illegal actions only serves to further divide the nation and exacerbate the challenges it faces. Instead, Zimbabwe should embrace dialogue, respect for the rule of law, and peaceful solutions to ensure a brighter future for all its citizens.

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