By Ben Mberikwazvo
The embattled MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has found himself perched between a rock and a hard place in a game of political brinkmanship after the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC recalled four legislators from Parliament on 05 May 2020 as a fulfilment of a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the party's reconstitution to the 2014 structures.
Divergent views emerging from the Chamisa led camp exposes the dilemma faced by MDC in choosing the way forward after the recall of four of its legislators from Parliament.
The MDC at large has been found wanting countless times when it comes to key political decisions. The MDC Chamisa faction top leaders have been at odds among themselves regarding the course of action to take in the aftermath of the recall with the majority of legislators remaining mum on the issue whilst others like Job Sikhala have been agitating for violent protests against the government.
Only Harare West legislator, Joana Mamombe, has openly expressed her support for Chamisa through social media platforms. The silence by the affected MDC legislators is a clear testimony that all is not well within the MDC Chamisa faction. Taking into consideration responses coming from the concerned MDC legislators regarding whether to resign or to continue with their parliamentary duties, it is clear that the majority of them are not prepared to let go of their hard won parliamentary seats and luxuries that come with such.
It is now apparent that the sad reality of the implications posed by the "Corona judgement" as it was dubbed then by the MDC Chamisa faction, is slowly sinking into the MDC legislators. It seems some of them really understand the genesis of the problems bedevilling the party hence they cannot continue to ride in a sinking ship. It is that moment when the biblical Jonah should be thrown out of the ship to save the party.
It's a public secret that the majority of MDC legislators struggled during the 2018 elections with Chamisa accumulating most votes than his legislators combined. Given the amount of resources required to campaign in a by election it seems a lot of MDC legislators have done their cost benefit analysis hence their silence on the matter .
The MDC legislators have now realized that the stakes are now high and require sober thinking considering political benefits to be reaped from such a move. The electorate has suffered enough through the MDC power struggles since its formation. It is high time that Chamisa should honour the moral obligation installed on his party by the electorate by putting people's interests first before his personal glory and self-aggrandizement charade disguised as a fight for democracy.
The greatest political strategist Sun Tzu in his Art of War memoirs mentions moral law as one of the constant factors which determines the success of a leader. According to Sun Tzu moral law causes the people to be in complete accord with their leader. From the above assertions one can conclude that it is through moral law that people will defend their leader with everything at their disposal regardless of their lives. This was the driving factor during the liberation struggle.
The sooner Chamisa realizes this, the better. It is for this same reason that people are questioning Chamisa's rationale in shunning the political actor's dialogue. If the late Tsvangirai would sit in the same room to discuss national issues with his political nemesis, the late R.G Mugabe then, what can stop Chamisa from doing the same considering what Tsvangirai went through during Mugabe era. Its high time that Chamisa should rise above self-glory, politics of patronage and think as a mature leader as history will judge him harshly.
Judging from the different opinions being expressed by the MDC, Chamisa and his team have been confronted with a situation that requires political astuteness rather than student politics bordered on reactionary efforts which are being exhibited by the likes of Sikhala. Through a press conference held last Wednesday, Sikhala has threatened to suspend all parliamentary business and resign en masse from parliament as a show of solidarity with Chamisa. Suspending all parliamentary business will not be selfish but also a betrayal of the electorate who trusted these legislators with their votes. The voters entrusted these parliamentarians with a mandate to formulate sound policies for the benefit of communities and the nation at large.
Why Chamisa is desperately avoiding to abide by the supreme court judgment and simply subject himself to the public opinion at the ordinary congress defies logic. This cannot be expected from someone who has been laying claim to over two million votes in the previous election. Such reasoning puts an indictment on the leadership of Chamisa and also exposes the hypocrisy which continues to haunt MDC at large. Yes it's in the public domain that Chamisa has no good memories as far as congresses are concerned but 2014 when he was thrashed by Mwonzora is a long time back and as a pastor, Chamisa should know that there is a time for everything under the sun as the good book tells us.
Ironically this situation comes as a result of internal power struggles within the MDC echelons. These are self-inflicted pains as the late system Tazvida put it in one of his yesteryear hits “ndiwe wakazvikanyira wega.”
After the death of Tsvangirai one would have expected the issue of leadership to have been dealt with smoothly considering the legal minds within the rank and file of MDC structures hence branding themselves champions of democracy.
Events which followed left everyone shell-shocked with many unanswered questions. It was a political heist which would have left creators of the popular movie series ‘Money Heist’ green with envy. After all the drama and accusations, many thought the Supreme court ruling which ordered the holding of an ordinary congress within three months had thrown a lifeline to Chamisa who has been bragging about two million votes in the 2018 presidential elections.
Everyone hoped Chamisa would grab this opportune lifeline with both hands and set the record straight by asserting his popularity and also bringing the veneer of constitutionalism to his leadership. It was a chance to kill two birds with one stone. But alas, whether for lack of advice or for disregard of such, Chamisa threw the caution to the wind. By disregarding the Supreme Court ruling, Chamisa has buried his political grace and needs a Lazarus moment to resurrect from it.