By Dr MASIMBA MAVAZA
The year 2020 has not been a good year for Nelson Chamisa the leader of a heavily fractured MDC A as he presides over a breaking up party. Chamisa had ridden on the lightning of firm and glory as he became a household name in Zimbabwe. He became a charismatic leader whose lies could not cost him his position as a party president.
He lost narrowly to the current Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa. In all fairness to the young man, Chamisa has achieved more than Tsvangirai in his first attempt at the presidency. But as fate would have its way, Chamisa’s grip on power was loosened by a Supreme Court ruling he himself had appealed. He lost a struggle of power contest to Thokozani Khupe indeed with the help of Mwonzora and Morgan Komichi.
Chamisa was blamed by his youthful backers when he refused to take a position in the illegal 31st July failed demonstration. He remained on the edge and he failed to reign in the wayward deputy Chairperson Job Sikhala who ended up being the self proclaimed spokesperson of the 31st August movement. Knives were out when MDC A could not take action against dissenting voices.
2020 is the same year Chamisa lost his mother and his father’s brother. To make matters worse for Chamisa he was snubbed by the team set up by South Africa to have a fact finding mission on the events in Zimbabwe. Chamisa has further been accused of keeping silent in the face of arrests of a political activist Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume.
But his woes were compounded when his Deputy, the controversial MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti broke his silence during the weekend by telling his critics and supporters that he was not interested in being a Vice President of an opposition party, but the President of Zimbabwe.
Mr Biti said he has set his eyes on the country’s top seat and he would not be distracted by a section of individuals in the party plotting his downfall. He indicated that he will run for the country’s top job with or without the MDC A.
This was the first bold challenge to Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC A. Biti is already facing expulsion from the party amid claims by some members of the MDC A that he was creating parallel structures in the party to topple Chamisa before 2023. If there was any doubt to his intentions his weekend declaration of his intentions to the throne have created fissures in the party. Chamisa’s position is now unattainable and his political life hangs by the thread.
Biti declared on Capital FM on the 8th of August that “If Zimbabweans see my capability, I will be asking for the job to be President in 2023 and not to be a mere activist in an opposition political party,” Advocate Tendai Biti said during a vernacular radio talk show on Capital FM on Saturday.
In pushing Chamisa aside Biti said that 2023 will be his time to lead the country after sacrificing his bids for Tsvangirai more than twice and Chamisa in 2018.
Biti stated that he can not remain in the terraces forever. He said there is always a time when one has to stand up and claim what is his. The MDC A Vice President described some of his political opponents as individuals with lying and corrosive tongues, who cannot be entrusted with uniting the country. This he said in a rare jibe at Chamisa. And with the race for the 2023 election gaining momentum, he declared that his eyes were now fixed on contesting for the top seat and was ready for political alliances that will propel his team to power.
This is not good news to Chamisa who has been warned that re-admitting Biti and Sikhala was a serious mistake.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity a senior MDC member said, “Mr Biti secretly met some MDC A provincial leaders from across the country at his house as he begins to charter his bid for State House.” Biti told the Capitol FM that “I am not worried about the noise other people make on social media. Twitter following does not necessarily translate into votes. In fact, it only brings massive criticism as it exposes their lies and lack of strategy,” Mr Biti blamed Chamisa for letting victory elude them in 2018. I still believe our victory was stolen in 2018 and we must correct and deal with ZEC. The electoral commission is captured by the State. We must start by the independence of commission if elections are to be free and fair,” he said.
He said that the country has been experiencing post-election violence because of bungled elections, stating that he still believes that their win was stolen in the last poll. The position Biti has taken has simply put Chamisa on tight ropes. MDC is known for splitting and in its three splits Biti played a great role in splitting MDC. Now with Biti fracturing the already fractured MDC A what will Chamisa remain with?.
The electorate is dumped in a political confusion. It is actually MDC A in crisis and it needs straight-headed leaders.
Opposition is always healthy for democracy. So the instability in the MDC taints the record of democracy in Zimbabwe.