Are there any lessons for ZANU-PF from Chamisa’s loss at the MDC congress?


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Nelson Chamisa’s loss of the secretary-general’s post in the Movement for Democratic Change to fellow lawyer Douglas Mwonzora was a shattered dream for the MDC youths, according to a local daily.

“His loss to Douglas Mwonzora vividly illustrated the schism within the MDC. And it served as a reminder of what has made some party supporters skittish about the MDC — a sense that ambition is ruthlessly crushed,” the Daily News said.

Nelson Chamisa, who was considered the front runner for the post, lost to Mwonzora who polled 2 464 votes against his 1 756 votes.

But the Daily News was not happy with the result. “It’s very disturbing and very distressing. It is indicative of a very disturbing trend in the MDC, just like we are witnessing in ZANU-PF, the onslaught against VP Joice Mujuru,” the paper said.

“Chamisa’s controversial loss, after garnering 11 of 12 provincial nominations, echoed through the ranks of MDC officeholders nationally, showing the risks that even senior leaders can face in crossing the MDC president’s path.”

Most of its readers who commented on the story did not agree.

“Hahahaha this is a very biased and dangerous article,” one wrote. “As someone who attended the congress and as someone who sits in the National Council of the MDC-T let me make it clear that the reporter makes an assumption that Chamisa was rigged which is very wrong, the elections were conducted in a free and fair manner and all contesting candidates had agents who were monitoring to ensure that the procedure would be conducted above board.

“NC lost to DM in an open manner, the people had issues with NC which had built up from the 2013 primary elections, to the 2013 harmonised elections. In the interest of space and time let me conclude by educating you that; being nominated by 12 provinces is not a ticket that you will win at congress as the provincial nomination council is not even 2/5 of the people who will represent the province at the congress, so ideally if NC was nominated say by 60 people, that province at the congress will be having say 350 people all with voting rights so the number that nominated him becomes insignificant………”

Regardless of whether the writer is in the MDC national council or not, he or she had a point. Provincial nominations are not a ticket to winning at congress if delegate vote by secret ballot as ZANU-PF has decided to do this time at its December congress.

Candidates no longer have to rely on the backing of provincial leaders, who they can easily buy, but on the entire delegates. So the race will be wide open, even in ZANU-PF.  And it will be the people, rather than the media, who will decide.

*If you want more insights into the ZANU-PF congress, here is a MUST READ. It details how Mugabe has lasted this long.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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