Is Chamisa who his supporters think he is?


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On 15 February 2018, a colleague of mine, dating back to 1996, phoned me and said: “Mukoma tanyudzwa.”

I was a bit lost on what he was talking about, so I asked: “What do you mean?”

“Musangano waenda,” he said.

I knew that, as most young men, he was sympathetic to the Movement for Democratic Change, so I asked, “how?”

“The young man has taken over,” he said. “He is ED’s boy.”

That morning Nelson Chamisa had taken over as the acting president of the MDC, hours after Morgan Tsvangira’s death in South Africa.

I was totally shocked by the speed to replace Tsvangirai, but I was not that surprised by his allegation because a senior MDC official, Trudy Stevenson, had said the same thing way back in 2003. But she is the one who ended up working for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front government as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal.

Stevenson, who was the Member of Parliament for Harare North, told a United States embassy official in March 2003 that there was tension between the MDC older party members and the younger ones.

She said some of the younger members used unnecessarily sharp rhetoric at public rallies portraying the current political struggle as pitting the younger generation — represented by the MDC — versus the older, discredited generation — represented by ZANU-PF.

The young, sophisticated MDC cadres stuck like glue to Tsvangirai, she said.

“They expertly play on the MDC president’s sensitivity about his lack of higher education to maintain their access to him and to prevent others in the party from getting too close,” she said.

“After older members of the party executive committee recently complained to Tsvangirai that the vehemence of his young gatekeepers was becoming a problem, the MDC leader agreed to make some changes.”

Continued next page

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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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