Five years down the line, someone still has to convince me Chamisa is not a Mnangagwa project


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I have been frantically looking for a tweet by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba in which he insinuated that those saying that Citizens Coalition for Change Nelson Chamisa was a Mnangagwa project were hallucinating, or something to that effect. I could not find it but it is quite recent.  What surprised me was why Charamba would say this, five years after Chamisa assumed power, unless it was a view, belief or suspicion held by many.

I had already been planning to raise the issue once again today, the fifth anniversary of Chamisa taking over leadership of the then Movement for Democratic Change Alliance but forgot to save the tweet.

A colleague phoned me five years ago, this very same day, telling me that the MDC had been hijacked by Chamisa. He claimed that Chamisa was a ZANU-PF plant deployed to keep a close watch on party leader Morgan Tsvangirai. This triggered memories of a wikileaks cable of March 2003 in which then Harare North legislator Trudy Stevenson said she did not trust four MDC youths because she suspected they were ZANU-PF plants. These were Tafadzwa Musekiwa, Job Sikhala, Learnmore Jongwe- all legislators at the time, and youth leader Nelson Chamisa who was not a Member of Parliament then. 

As they say, politics is a dirty game. It was Stevenson who ended up working with ZANU-PF as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal for 10 years.

While it might be difficult to swallow that Chamisa might be a Mnangagwa or ZANU-PF project, a number of things he has done since assuming leadership of the country’s main opposition seem to give credence to this. They all seem to point out that Chamisa’s mission was to destroy the MDC and what Tsvangirai had built.

First was the way he grabbed power within the MDC, hours after the announcement of Tsvangirai’s death. It was not clear why Chamisa could not wait because he could easily have legitimately won the leadership of the party because of his popularity within the party. But maybe the fact that he was beaten by Douglas Mwonzora at the party congress in 2014 forced him not to take any chances.

Second was the way he handled the 2018 presidential elections dispute. Chamisa claimed that he had ample evidence to prove that he had been robbed of his victory but he did not produce this evidence in court, giving Mnangagwa the victory. Chamisa was not even behind the demonstration on 1 August which resulted in six people being killed, whispers say. Later he told the Motlanthe Commission that those who had gone onto the streets were stupid.

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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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