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Impatience, tactlessness expose Chamisa's immaturity

27 Aug 2019 at 13:21hrs | Views
It is just one and a half years since Nelson Chamisa seized control of the MDC following his predecessor, the late Morgan Tsvangirai's death on 14 February 2018. The guy is already showing signs of fatigue and frustration which is an indication of his lack of the necessary political mettle and grit to run an opposition party in a vibrant democracy such as Zimbabwe's. He seems not to possess the necessary patience and stoicism to last the distance.

 His behaviour lately betrays someone who is running out of meaningful ideas to keep himself relevant to his constituency which is becoming increasingly impatient and angry with him. Their anger, which is justified, is based on Chamisa's failure to use his first opportunity on 30 July 2018 to break MDC's 19-year old electoral jinx which saw Tsvangirai failing to unseat ZANU PF. To add salt to injury, he further angered his party members by also losing his Supreme Court electoral petition against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for failing to adduce cogent evidence to buttress his baseless poll theft claims.


After the series of disappointments, some MDC members pinned their hopes on the party's elective congress, which was brought forward to May this year from its scheduled date of October 2019. The event was marred by controversy that was born largely of candidate imposition at provincial congress level at the behest of Chamisa to ensure that he consolidated his stranglehold on power by surrounding himself with trusted party members. This was, however, at the expense of upholding democratic principles which took a knock on the party's democracy monument.

Even the world waited with baited breath to hear Chamisa's vision for the country in his maiden congress speech. Everyone expected him to leverage the speech to spell out the Zimbabwe that he wished to see and how he and the party expected to achieve it. This, however, was not to be as Chamisa squandered the opportunity and, instead, defaulted to his party's default mode - violence and destruction. Instead of pledging to work with other Zimbabweans, who include President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF members, to re-build the country, he promised war on the President as if the latter owes him and his party anything.

While almost every opposition party exists to replace the ruling party in its country some day, this does not mean that it should rend the national constitution to get into power at whatever costs and whatever the results. Chamisa's call for war fell on the ears of the violence-happy senior party members such as the MDC vice chairperson, Job Sikhala who threatened to overthrow President Mnangagwa and the party's youth assembly leader, Obey Sithole also uttered something to similar effect.


Since taking over power Chamisa has just been about violence and nothing meaningful. This is indicative of his frustration with his electoral loss which he cannot reverse or do anything about until 2023 when Zimbabwe holds national elections again. Given the poor performance of MDC councillors in various local authorities, in 2023 Chamisa will have no achievement to point to as his party's achievements when he campaigns. This is worsened by the fact that he has no constituency to run. In view of the sharp differences and widening fissures between him and one of his deputies, Tendai Biti, he cannot count on all his legislators and councillors to produce results which the party can use as a reference record of what it can do for Zimbabweans.  Chamisa is just helpless and vulnerable at this stage. His lack of political tact, his electoral loss and his post-poll bungling have made him a sitting duck for the ambitious schemers in the party such as Biti.  The party's Western handlers and funders have already decided to back Biti ahead of 2023. His advantage as a youth could not count for much in the absence of sound political acumen and the West now view him as a liability which should be offloaded as soon as possible to give his successor ample time to prepare for 2023.

One can tell that the source of his frustration is his failure which is traceable to his lack of political experience despite learning at Tsvangirai's feet for nearly two decades. The young man just lacks political probity hence his electoral failure which is driving him against the wall. The progress which Government has registered so far in turning around the economy is also running rings around him hence his increasing frustration.

A comparison of Chamisa and his predecessor brings out how much of a political lightweight and novice he is. In his 19 years at the helm of the MDC Tsvangirai participated in three elections and never attempted to use force to get into Government – not even during the contentious 31 March 2008 presidential elections. It was because of his political maturity that he agreed to a Government of National Unity (GNU) in that year with former President, Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai never used violent and destructive protests against his innocent fellow Zimbabweans and the economy.

What can one say of the former Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade who started out in opposition politics in 1978 and participated in four elections and lost until he won that country's presidency in 2000? Although he was way older than Chamisa, he did not court foreigners to fight his own people and Government to fast track his ascendance to power. His over 20 years stint in opposition helped him to mature politically in preparation for national office.

Miserable politician
For as long as Chamisa continues to nurse the misplaced notion that ZEC owes him an electoral victory, frustration and stress are going to take toll on his mind until he loses his marbles. For as long as he continues to mistakenly think that democracy is only valid when he wins elections he is going to live a very miserable life.

His poor calibre as a politician and his childish insistence on a victory, which he did not win, have left his handlers with no choice except to bypass him for the Biti camp. It will not be long before they find a way of replacing him ahead of the 2023 polls.

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Source - Nobleman Runyanga
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