By Charles Motsi
Today marks the second anniversary of the death of one of Zimbabwe’s political heavy-hitters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, hate him or love him the man left a formidable mark on the country’s political landscape, as the leader of the country’s second largest political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), unlike his successor, Nelson Chamisa.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record emphasising the importance of the opposition in a democracy as it is there to, “hold those in power to account.” Though, they had their differences, Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe earned their places in history for placing petty political party squabbles aside for the good of the nation.
From 2009 to 2013 the country was run by a Government of National Unity and in those years of political stability, the nation prospered. This could be credited to Tsvangirai and Mugabe as the leaders of the two main political parties who saw it fit to put the country first and disregard their own egos.
Fast forward to 2020, the country is faced with a youthful but unfortunately ill-experienced, egotistic opposition leader in Chamisa. A lot has been said on how he ascended to the throne and to say the least his rise was shameful and disrespectful to the memory of his predecessor.
Now that he is the man in charge, setting aside the matter of how he got there, he has exhibited some lack of political maturity and it is clear that he was not paying any attention to how Tsvangirai managed to stay on top of his game for close to two decades.
Under Chamisa, the party has seen the rise of corruption in the city and town councils that are under the stewardship of the MDC and nothing has been done to purge the party of the scourge of corruption. Most of the allegations on MDC corruption are said to be emanating from Chamisa’s own doors. For example, it is heavily alleged that most of the companies which were used in the renovation of that party’s Headquarters have links to Chamisa himself and his secretary general, Chalton Hwende.
Hwende is a long time business partner of Chamisa and together they are accused of having fleeced the party of close to 2 million dollars. If these allegations had originated from any government linked source there would have been public outcry and Chamsa would have dismissed them as ZANU PF propaganda. However, the allegations resulted from an MDC audit and one would hope that it is clear that even those within are tired of this unchecked corruption.
In as far as Tsvangirai and Chamisa’s relationship is concerned the latter should have learnt just one lessen above all else, that the masses should always come first and all else after the public’s interests. However, Chamisa’s refusal to accept the 2018 election results is a clear indicator that he places himself above all else.
Chamisa would rather celebrate a court ruling from Malawi, which ruled that the elections there should be retaken in favour of an opposition petition, than accept his own country’s Constitutional ruling stating that his party lost the 2018 elections.
Even the opposition party’s traditional backers from the West have accepted the legitimacy of President Mnangagwa and have moved on to try and encourage dialogue and reforms but Chamisa remains adamant and politicking by refusing to join POLAD. President Mnangagwa has shown his commitment to reforms and aligning the country’s laws to the constitution only to be faced by hostilities from Chamisa’s camp.
It is really disappointing that Chamisa could not master the basics required to be a true statesman not just a politician. Even his tactics of calling for demonstrations and refusing to dialogue only serve to show that he is no statesman in the mould of the all-time greats like Tsvangirai rather just a political opportunist in it for the glory and of course, the money.