Is Mwonzora smarter than Chamisa?


This is a question that staunch supporters of Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa will not entertain. They will not even bother to follow the argument, but condemn it just because of the headline.

This blind and unquestioning loyalty is what is likely to cost Chamisa his political career as his supporters continue to egg him on even when he says some of the most outlandish things.

It was blind loyalty that cost former President Robert Mugabe his post as he was led to believe by the G40 faction that he was in total control of the party only to find himself totally surrounded by the very people that he had believed would never turn against him forcing him to step down.

Mugabe was so devastated that, though old, he died less than two years after leaving office. Funny how once healthy politicians suddenly get so sick and frail that they have to seek medical attention outside the country once they get into trouble.

Mwonzora outsmarted Chamisa at the 2014 party congress when he clinched the powerful post of secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai against all odds.

Chamisa, who was party organising secretary, was considered the hot favourite. It was supposed to be a walk-over as he had been nominated by 11 provinces while Mwonzora, who was the party spokesman, had been nominated by only one.

But the election results showed Mwonzora gunning 2 464 votes against Chamisa’s 1 762. Some reports  put the figure at 1 756.

Chamisa was so upset that he refused to talk to journalists for days. New party spokesman Obert Gutu at the time told a journalist that the journalist was the 23rd reporter to phone him complaining that they  could not talk to Chamisa.

Some reports at the time said that Chamisa had been cut down to size by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai because he was too ambitious. But Tsvangirai catapulted Chamisa to party vice-president two years later, a move that was declared unconstitutional last year.

Though Mwonzora told Trevor Ncube in an interview that he had recommended to Tsvangirai that he appoint Chamisa to the executive, whispers say Chamisa was elevated because of Tsvangirai’s second wife Elizabeth Macheka – third if one takes Locadia  Karimakwenda’s 12-day marriage to the then Prime Minister into account

This elevation brought Chamisa back to the political limelight and he capitalised on it when he learnt that Tsvangirai was not likely to recover from cancer.  Chamisa was appointed acting president of the party on 7 February. Tsvangirai died on 14 February. Chamisa was at the helm of the party in less than 24 hours.

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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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