Tendai Biti, the biggest winner in the just ended elections


People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti is probably the biggest winner in the just ended elections.

He won a parliamentary seat under the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance which he would not have won under his own party.

It also appears that he is the only partner in the MDC Alliance who will be in the House and can therefore rightly claim to be leader of the opposition.

Douglas Mwonzora and Elias Mudzuri are in the upper House, the Senate.

The Alliance had no structure apart from the leader and the spokesperson, Welshman Ncube.

Biti’s political career was on the wane when he broke away from MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2014 after he and some colleagues called for a renewal in the party leadership which Tsvangirai resisted.

He faced a split from within his own party last year when he decided to enter into an Alliance with Tsvangirai, but he has now gained a seat.

Biti was Finance Minister in the Inclusive government that ran the country from 2009 to 2013 but was sidelined by Chamisa in the run-up to the 2013 campaign.

According to Phillan Zamchiya, Biti set up a technical team to advise Tsvangirai on the 2013 elections but the team’s advice was ignored.

The team was made up of the party’s top-tier secretariat and experts on politics and elections drawn from various universities and communication consultancy firms, Zamchiya says.

He argues that though Lovemore Moyo, the party’s national chairperson, was the head of the national elections directorate, which was constitutionally mandated to develop and implement the party’s election strategy, in practice it was Chamisa who made the final decisions on most campaign plans and how they were rolled out.

“In some cases, he overrode the national elections directorate,” Zamchiya says. “Chamisa managed to do this because he had charisma and the full support of the party president who trusted him.”

He adds: “Contrary to public perceptions that the MDC-T was caught unaware by the election results of 31 July 2013, I argue that the party leadership was told of such an eventuality by the technical team but was blinded by ambition, suspicion of intellectuals, the animated atmosphere at political rallies, and a creeping sense of a divine ordination to govern.”

This seems to be exactly the same thing that happened in the just ended elections. Chamisa seems to have been blinded by ambition and his “divine ordination to govern” that he trampled upon too many people, creating enemies along the way, but they hang on to him because they wanted to cash in on his popularity.

Now that he has lost, some, like Biti, are likely to throw him under the bus?

Only time will tell.


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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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