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A villain or a custodian of Democratic ethos and principles: Case of Chamisa’s usurpation and consolidation of power in MDC

26 Dec 2019 at 08:19hrs | Views
The foregoing discussion intends to showcase and highlight the rise of Chamisa in the opposition Movement. There has been a lot of debate and divided opinion pertaining the way he usurped power. To date two schools of thought have clashed. One castigates him as a villain and a dictator, yet the other one views him as a demigod and have therefore heaped and showered him with praises glorifying his name, claiming he is a democrat to the bone. These regard him as the godfather and champion of democracy who does not have any blemishes. They see him as so pure and holy and as an ardent protector of democratic ethos. It is on the bedrock of these two schools of thought that the discussion springs forth.


The discussion intends to support the group that view Chamisa as a villain. It’s upon this traction that I intend to highlight how Chamisa masquerading as the champion of democracy carried a palace coup and villainously whisked away the highest post in the opposition under the noses of his confidantes whilst Tsvangirai was still on his death bed actually dealt Democracy a hard blow. After the death of the veteran opposition leader ‘cyclone Chamisa’ snuffed out and completely silenced Mudzuri, Gutu and Khupe.

He claimed that he was acting as the party’s surgeon whose mandate was to stop the spread of the cancer which he argued, if left unattended would stifle the party. His sympathizers argued that the expulsion of these senior members was a necessary evil that would bear fruits in the long run. Chamisa just like Mussolini believes that operations are at times indispensable, but after the operation the patient grabs the hand of the surgeon kissing the instruments that would have brought him back to life. Therefore according to him the purge meant to preserve democracy. According to Jefferson , whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct. The statement is well applicable in the context of my discussion. Groucho Marx said politics is the art of looking for trouble finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong methods. That’s exactly what Chamisa is doing and unfortunately there are willing scribes who have gone on an evangelism crusade proclaiming the gospel that it’s only Chamisa who has the keys to the new Canaan. These apostles say unless power is handed over to Chamisa the country will continue sinking into the abyss.

His antagonists however say Chamisa should have learnt a lesson from his party of which after wrestling power he actually gave wrong prescriptions which reacted catastrophically, the ripple effects reaching far and wide culminating into party violence which saw the vanguard being unleashed to violently silence all dissenting voices. Mussolini once said “It is blood which moves the wheels of history” This statement is accurate when one examine how the youth went on a rampage preaching the ‘Chamisa chete chete’ mantra which rings the same tone as the ZANU PF ‘va Mugabe chete chete.’ Just like Mugabe, Chamisa used the youth brigades to beat and coerce people to glorify the personality cult. It is not lost on me that Khupe and her loyalists, who were advocating for the respect of the constitution failed to attend the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai as the vanguard came guns blazing with sticks and rocks vowing to stamp hard on the so called undesired elements.Had it not been that members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police escorted them out of the Tsvangirai homestead blood might have been shed. This shows that when he becomes president all those who will oppose his policies will have their feathers clipped.


This trajectory, of bashing and threatening one’s perceived political opponents reflects a total negation of democratic ethos. This then leaves one with more questions than answers. It’s crystal clear that these notorious acts serve to expose his uncouth and unbridled ambition and clearly shows that his major concern is the retaining of power at whatever cost even by hook and crook. Chamisa’s fixation of assuming power while his mentor was on his deathbed were the first signs of the total disregard of humanism, the imposition of his cronies and the unleashing of a ‘reign of terror’ to silence discordant voices and those clamoring for the preservation of democratic principles and the rule of law were the manifestations of authoritarianism and only serve to expose his naivety and total negation of democracy. It’s clear that Chamisa has been fanning dictatorial fires through firing all those members deemed as surplus and a threat to his leadership, through labeling them as ZANU PF yet no finger was raised against him when on election eve Mugabe plainly, unashamedly and vehemently endorsed and supported his candidature urging Zimbabweans to vote for him.Mwonzora and Mudzuri were lampooned and physically manhandled as they were seen as stumbling blocks to his presidency. To this day Mwonzora is still a subject of ridicule and malicious accusations have been leveled against him as he is still viewed as a threat to Chamisa's leadership.

The Youth are the main proponents of the baseless accusations. Mwonzora has been barraged, lambasted and verbally mauled by Chamisa loyalists for harboring ambitions of wrestling power from him. Amongst the other most serious allegations are that Mwonzora is suspected of being a Zanu PF spy working hand in glove with the Central Intelligence Organization whose mandate is to derail progress and destroy the MDC from within.

Chamisa has been drumming support and has created an intimidatory fence within and without the party structures whose main purpose is to deter, frighten and hinder other members of the party from challenging him. His MPs have been walking out of Parliament protesting that Mnangagwa rigged the election hence they don’t recognize him as the president. The whole country is being held at ransom because he wants power. In his quest for power he readmitted Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube who had left the opposition to front their own organizations which faltered due to lack of support. As if that was not enough he gave them high positions totally sidelining the people who had remained loyal to the party. The proponents of the Chamisa ‘supreme leader’ mantra don’t see anything wrong in these moves because to them Chamisa is always right.

The failure to respect the court ruling which ascertained Mnangagwa as the winner also paint a different picture about what his supporters say. His hard line stance towards resolving the impasse and his denial to join a grouping of all political parties and his demand for special treatment also shows the type of a leader he is. He is holding the whole country at ransom just because he wants to take over the savory gravy train. The whole country is writhing and languishing in agony and poverty but all this seem to be useless to him as his only concern is to take over as the leader despite having failed to produce evidence in the courts of law showing that he had out rightly won the election.

In a nutshell the discussion has attempted to show the other side of Chamisa and bring out how his actions contradict the ethos of democracy. He has shown dictatorial tendencies and his reign has led to a surge of political violence in the opposition movement. He has left no stone unturned in his bid to hold on to power. Time will tell if he is not a reincarnation of one of Africa’s feared dictators of all time -Robert Gabriel Mugabe; but the two men seem to have a lot in common.
Tendai Manika Chairman and founder of The Zimbabwe Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation.


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