Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Hichilema is not Chamisa, Zambia is not Zimbabwe

20 Aug 2021 at 07:08hrs | Views
The electoral victory of the Zambian President-elect, Hakainde Hichilema has excited the MDC Alliance, particularly its leader, Nelson Chamisa who already perceives the triumph as a glimmer of hope that will also turn his political fortune.

The MDC Alliance is pushing the boat out more than the victors themselves. Chamisa has been quoted saying it will be his turn in 2023, the year that Zimbabwe holds its harmonised elections. 'If Hichilema did it, why Chamisa can't did it.' There goes the narrative that the MDC-A supporters have popularised in a bid to give themselves a ray of hope. Hopefully it's not hoping against hope.

Admittedly, Hichilema and Chamisa have fraternal relations, which is very normal as birds of the same feathers ordinarily flock together. Now that the feathers are different, it is yet to be seen if the two birds will continue to flock together. However, pinning hopes on the electoral outcome in Zambia is surely knocking the wood.  

This is so because Zambia is not Zimbabwe and Hichilema is not Chamisa. The MDC Alliance is not the United Parties for National Development (UPND).

Edgar Lungu is not President Mnangagwa and more so, Zanu-PF is not in any way similar to the Patriotic Front (PF).  There are worlds apart between these individuals, countries and political organisations. Hichilema has his personal attributes that Chamisa might not even match in his life time.  The economic situation in Zambia, which played a role in the defeat of Lungu, is different from that of Zimbabwe. Lungu himself was not well prepared for the contest as he had not amply attempted to address major grievances that Zambians had against him.

This is not the same with President Mnangagwa who, according to a South African based research network, Afrobarometer, will romp to victory even if elections were to be held tomorrow.

At least one can be forgiven for counting on research-based findings. A sharp contrast can be drawn from the way the two leaders got at the helm of their respective political parties. Hichilema was constitutionally elected by the members of his UNDP following the death of that party leader, Anderson Masoka in 2006.  For 15 years, Hichilema was at the helm of the UNDP, a period that has enabled him to amass a vast of political experience needed to govern a country.

Owing to the way, he ascended to the party presidency, Hichilema got into the contest with undivided support. This is in great disparity to Chamisa whose ascendancy to the party premiership was unconstitutional and shrouded in controversy. He literally grabbed power following the death of his predecessor, Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018. His ascendancy created antagonism within the party resulting in some veteran party members forming their own splinter parties.  

The disgruntled members who remained put are still working at cross purpose with the youthful leader. His deputy, Tendai Biti is angling to take over power with the assistance of the West. His erstwhile confidants have created a faction christened Maruva or Kensington Cabal, which is also working towards ousting Chamisa for putting them on the back burner in favour of the Johnny-come-lately.  With this hotchpotch state of affairs in the MDC-A, doing a Hichilema in Zimbabwe is a dream that will never come true.

Chamisa has not amassed the requisite experience needed to assume the highest office.  He needs to learn the art of patience in politics from Hichilema. His own lieutenants have been accusing him of being unripe.  He only grabbed the leadership of the MDC-A in February 2018 and by June, unformed as he was, joined the race for the topmost job. He lost, but did not concede defeat. He challenged the presidential election results in the court and lost. He did not accept the court verdict up to this day. He incited his supporters to violently demonstrate resulting in massive destruction of properties and infrastructure.  

What a bad loser.

On the other hand, Hichilema has been losing elections gracefully for five times. He neither challenged the results in the courts nor incited his supporters to demonstrate. For that reason, he even lured votes from his rivals. Hichilema's profile as a 59 year-old mature and businessman, contributed to his victory as the unemployed youth saw him as the potential driver of economic revival.  

He is former chief executive officer at an accounting firm and is a large commercial farmer with nearly 100 000 herds of cattle to his name. He is one of the biggest suppliers of meat to the local Zambian market, as well as one of Zambia's biggest exporter of hard-currency-earning beef products. He also holds substantial investments in Zambia's tourism sector.  

Save for his business dealings with the Gushungo Holdings, there is no known legit business that Chamisa is involved in.  With his shallow business profile, and the economic challenges facing the country, voting Chamisa for presidency would be putting a square peg in a round hole.

The enlightened youth are not lost to the fact that Chamisa and his party are the authors of their misery.  They called for the sanctions that led the country into the current economic quagmire.  Hichilema never called for sanctions to be imposed on Zambia, even during  incidents where his defeat was controversial.

That defines a patriot, an attribute that is deficient in Chamisa.  It is an open secret that Chamisa and the MDC-A are being used by the Western forces to effect a regime change in Zimbabwe.  

Hichilema is his own man, he is not a proxy. In that vein, the only common factor was that they were both opposition leaders. As much as Chamisa has been inspired by the Zambian electoral outcome, doing a Hichilema is a distant feat. He needs to be as patient as Hichilema.

He also needs to amass political experience, economic shrewdness, unite his fragmented party, desist from inviting misery on his country, be patriotic and seek legitimacy for the position he is holding.

Without these, a Hichilema in Zimbabwe will remain a pipe dream.

Source - the herald
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.