Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa, who lost the presidential election to Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Emmerson Mnangagwa on 30 July this year but disputes the result despite losing the court challenge, says 2019 “is our year to shine and fly”.
In an end of year message to his followers, Chamisa tweeted: “Thank you all of you my lovely dear friends for the great love and encouragement this 2018.We had many challenges and great successes. Your support made it all possible for us to pull through.2019 is our year to shine and fly. Victory is upon us!#Godisinit.”
It is not clear whether Chamisa will be fighting to unseat Mnangagwa as some of his colleagues have said, but he will be facing an even bigger internal challenge, that of holding the party congress to choose a new leader.
When he took over leadership of the party following the death of founding president Morgan Tsvangirai on 14 February, the party said he would be leader for just a year which meant the congress to elect a new leader would be held in February 2019.
There has, however, been talk that the congress will be held in October which would have been the normal congress date since the last congress was held in 2014.
Some within the party argue that Chamisa was made president of the MDC Alliance, which was a coalition of seven opposition parties to contest the 30 July elections under a quota system that they had agreed on.
This group argues that Chamisa was therefore not the leader of the MDC-T as the party which was one of the seven members of the coalition.
The MDC-T name was, however, taken over by Thokozani Khupe when she refused to accept Chamisa’s leadership and broke away.
Khupe was against the Alliance even before Tsvangirai died because she felt that the party could win the elections on its own as it did in 2008 and should not therefore be dragged into a coalition with parties whose constituents were not known apart from the party leaders.
Tendai Biti who broke away from Tsvangirai in 2014 to form the People Democratic Party, which also later split, was the biggest beneficiary from the Alliance as he won the Harare East and some of his colleagues in the Alliance such as Settlement Chikwinya also won seats which they would not have won if the original MDC-T had contested as a party.
Chamisa could also be facing his first test in six weeks as the Tsvangirai family has announced that it will be holding a memorial for Morgan on 14 February but has invited Mnangagwa and Khupe.
He was the star at Tsvangirai’s funeral though Morgan’s mother had sworn that she would hang herself if Chamisa and Tsvangirai’s second wife, Elizabeth, attended her son’s funeral.