By Mutsa Makuvaza
The opposition MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa has been urged to empower its youths instead of “taking them nowhere” by urging them to boycott Chicken Inn and Impala Car Rentals.
Abigale Mupambi, a proportional representation MP candidate for the opposition MDC-T in Matebeleland North, opines that the MDC Alliance leaders are taking the party youths nowhere by keeping them busy with hashtags and boycotts that yield no result.
This comes as top officials in the MDC Alliance, including Secretary-General Chalton Hwende, have been leading a social media campaign urging party officials to cease dong business with Chicken Inn and Impala Car rentals.
Hwende argues that Chicken Inn has a case to answer after it emerged their CCTV footage and name were used in the documentary that aired on ZBC TV.
“The problem with Chicken Inn is not that it released CCTV footage, rather; that it availed it’s name and facilities in aid of a fraudulent effort,” said Harare lawyer Thabani Mpofu, who has represented Chamisa in the court multiple times.
“This immoral, unethical and completely senseless gesture is what has appalled right thinking people. Search your conscience Chicken Inn. You raise an issue with Chicken Inn and attract the ire of varakashi. Muridzi weChipopi tirikumuona zvedu. We are many things but foolish is not one of them.”
Hwende said: “Let’s boycott these two brands that are being used to facilitate torture of innocent citizens.”
Human rights defender Abigale Mupambi said Hwende and fellow MDC Alliance leaders were merely using youths on a helpless project, adding that boycotts would only be effective if party members were economically empowered.
“As much as you understand, how many of your supporters as MDC Alliance can afford to buy chicken inn and or hire cars at Impala? Logic is when you empower your people first then boycott is implementable.
“Your youths do not even own a single chicken, what more boycotting an established brand like Chicken Inn?” queried Mupambi.
For weeks, Impala has been battling a tainted image after one of its rental cars was used in the abduction of 22-year-old activist Tawanda Muchehiwa in Bulawayo ahead of the thwarted July 31 protests.
One of Harare-based Impala Car Rental’s white Ford Rangers was seen in recently-released CCTV footage that captured the abduction. Since then, Zimbabweans on social media have called on the company to reveal who hired the vehicle or face a boycott of its services.
In a statement, CEO Thompson Dondo distanced the company from the kidnap escapade, arguing that it was “limited” in as far as controlling how its vehicles were used by clients.
“As a service provider we are limited in controlling where and how our vehicles will be used because our clients are not obliged to disclose their vehicle hiring purposes,” he said.
He added that if the need arose they would co-operate with law enforcement investigations:
Following a social media video clip which implicates one of our rental vehicles (Registration No. AES 2433) in an alleged abduction for Tawanda Muchehiwa in Bulawayo, Impala Car Rental would like to advise all our valued stakeholders that we are really concerned with this matter.
As a service provider, we are limited in controlling where and how our vehicles will be used because clients are not obliged to disclose their vehicle hiring purposes. It is very possible that some clients may use our vehicles for criminal activities without our knowledge & it is not our intention to cover up for such criminals.
As Impala Car Rental we stand obligated to cooperate with any investigations by the Law Enforcement Agents into this matter so that Tawanda Muchehiwa gets justice.
We would like to assure all our stakeholders that Impala Car Rental remains committed to providing the best service possible at all times!
Chief Executive Officer
29 August 2020
Still, the car hire company’s Twitter account, which goes by the handle @impalacarrental, was inundated with calls from people for the firm to release the name, address and contact details of the person who hired the car. Some also urged the firm to release CCTV footage from its premises revealing the mystery client.
MDC Alliance treasurer general David Coltart said the vehicle “would be a great lead for a professional police force. It must have fingerprints all over it … but under Zanu-PF nothing will be done.”
There was also concern that the firm could be lying that it had no knowledge of where its cars are driven by clients because all vehicles ordinarily have a tracker to monitor movements.
- Compiled by Zimbabwe Voice