MAIN opposition MDC Alliance president ,Nelson Chamisa brought business to a standstill during his visit to Matabeleland North and South Provinces where he is meeting the grassroots structures.
Contrary to general beliefs that the vibrant political leader does not enjoy popular support in the rural areas, Chamisa was greeted by thousands of people who set aside their daily chores to engage with a leader who is widely perceived as the last hope for a better Zimbabwe.
He visited grassroots structures in Matabeleland South and Matebeleland North provinces for most part of last week.
The visit coincides with President Emmerson Mnangagwa announcement that by-elections will be held early next year to fill about 28 vacant Parliamentary seats and about 80 local authority seats.
But the opposition party says the by-elections are not the main factor behind the community engagements charade since focus is on much broader issues affecting the nation.
The trailblazing engagements also come at a time when national hope is at its least ebb amid soaring inflation and massive erosion of incomes forcing almost half of the country’s populace to backslide into extreme poverty.
Solani Moyo, the MDC Alliance Matabeleland South provincial chairperson, said Chamisa is visiting several local wards and conducting an audit of party structures in the provinces.
“The president is in Matabeleland South where he began his meet-the-people campaign on Saturday. He has visited Insiza South and Umzingwane constituencies. Today (Sunday) he is visiting Bulilima East and Mangwe districts,” Moyo said.
“Even Zanu PF members are welcoming him although there are some elements that tried to block him. Some Zanu PF members even insisted on shaking his hands.”
Some MDC Alliance supporters at a Chamisa rally in Matebeleland North province
He said people were keen to meet Chamisa, whom they view as their redeemer from the economic and political problems currently afflicting the country.
“Zanu PF thought it was the only party that had support in the rural areas, but it is now realising that people want change. That is the reason why its supporters have been blocking Chamisa during his meet-the-people tours,” he said.