Is Mwonzora smarter than Chamisa?


Once again Elizabeth’s name popped up. In an interview a day before Tsvangirai died, his brother Collins implied that Tsvangirai’s wife had connived with Chamisa to take over the leadership of the party.

Party presidential spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai had appointed Chamisa acting president.

Tsvangirai’s mother might have given a hint when she told mourners that she did not want to see Elizabeth and Chamisa at her son’s funeral but she was totally ignored. People might never know what actually transpired, but that is now water under the bridge.

Chamisa had outsmarted Elias Mudzuri who had been acting president and Thokozani Khupe the elected vice-president of the party who should have taken over the leadership according to the party constitution.

People are still confused about why Chamisa chose that route. He was very popular and could easily have won the party leadership if he had chosen the constitutional route. The only plausible explanation was that he did not want a repeat of 2014. He was popular but lost to Mwonzora. He was probably afraid that the same thing could happen again.

By grabbing power, however, Chamisa created a lot of “enemies” within.  But they decided to hang on to him in the forlorn hope that he would win the national presidential election and accommodate them. But he failed. And trouble began.

Although Chamisa won big, polling nearly 2.2 million votes, his party lost dismally winning only 1.6 million votes.

What upset most Tsvangirai loyalists was that people who had no political future at all, like Tendai Biti who had broken away from Tsvangirai in 2014, were suddenly back in the limelight having been elected on the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance ticket. Although Welshman Ncube, the first party secretary-general to break away from Tsvangirai, did not make it, people from his party did.

To make matters worse Chamisa concentrated on challenging the presidential election result and not the parliamentary one, giving the impression that he was only interested in his own political career and not the future of the party because he would have been totally paralysed if he had won the presidential poll while the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front maintained a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Chamisa’s self-preservation was also demonstrated at the party congress in 2019.  Instead of healing the rift with his former colleagues from the MDC-T like Elias Mudzuri and Douglas Mwonzora, he hounded them out and took in people who had rejected Tsvangirai.

Chamisa took in Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube as his deputies. He brought in David Coltart, a Welshman Ncube person, as treasurer; appointed ultra-loyalist Chalton Hwende as secretary-general, and demoted Thabitha Khumalo to chair. She had hoped to be vice-president.

Trouble brewed.

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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