By Kennedy Kaitano
Just over a year at the helm of Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party, Nelson Chamisa seems to be stamping his authority, bringing home that Zimbabwe may be a real democracy after all.
His rise to leadership has obviously been criticized by some, even within his own party, but the youthful leader needs to be praised for the manner in which he has handled things.
No one is perfect, Chamisa included, but one of the things he should be applauded for was his public statement, repeated a few occasions, that every member had the constitutional right of being nominated for any position in the party as long as they met the constitutional requirements.
These statements he made when Vice-President Elias Mudzuri and Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora had indicated that should they be nominated to contest for any position at the coming Congress, including the Presidency, they would accept the nomination.
Mwonzora especially took a battering from angry party members who thought a contest between Mwonzora and Chamisa would see Chamisa lose. Personally, I don’t think Chamisa was going to lose, but other people are not confident enough and do not want to leave things to chance.
Chamisa, in my opinion, is obviously the darling in Zimbabwe’s political circles at the moment and cannot lose to anyone in a poll, but allowing anyone who got nominated to contest would have proved beyond any reasonable doubt MDC’s democratic credentials.
I believe the party leadership will cultivate the democratic principles to every level of the party in the time leading to the next elections, and I do not doubt Advocate Chamisa’s capacity to lead the team to achieve that.
Another positive aspect of the debates has been that participants have been able to ask the contestants questions, and in Bulawayo, Douglas Mwonzora clarified certain baseless allegations that have been used against him in the Congress process. I am confident that in the next five years the party will perfect the process to ensure that the voters can make informed choices.
Chamisa is just good. He is not just charismatic, he is highly intelligent as evident from coming top of the class in most of his degree courses, and with degrees in political science, law and theology, he knows the right thing to do, and with the support of highly capable leaders as seen from the presentations made at the ongoing candidate debates, I see the MDC being able to break all the barriers that have made it fail to be announced winners in all previous elections where the courts of public opinion had judged the party as winners.
On his party, advocate Chamisa has said there are no losers at Congress. I have put it this way a few times “We are all winners, even those that will not be contesting, but some contestants will simply get more votes than others in any election.”
Knowing the value in each of those contesting, Advocate Chamisa has repeatedly said all who do not get the top votes will be redeployed to various positions within the party.
I have had my reservations, but all my fears about Advocate Nelson Chamisa, who I see as good wine that has matured with age, have all be satisfactorily resolved. Not that I have at any one point not wanted him to lead after the demise of icon Tsvangirai, but I am more confident with his leadership than when he took over.
Chamisa for President any time between now and 2023