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A tinpot dictator

Fungai Chiposi Correspondent
The manner in which Nelson Chamisa took over the leadership of the MDC-T raised alarm bells in me. I engaged with him and highlighted that this was not the correct way to assume leadership.

As a lawyer, he understood the MDC-T constitution and was duty-bound to uphold it. As a responsible citizen, I could not bring myself to support a leader who could not stand with his constitution. What guarantee would I have that he would uphold the constitution of the country if elected President?

I have sensed that Chamisa is a dictator for a while, but held back and ignored the warning bells in my mind. I held back because I was afraid of being attacked and labelled by hordes of Chamisa Chete Chete supporters on social media.

I held back because I had my own campaign to run in Southerton Constituency and did not want it harmed by airing such a sentiment, especially one so subjective and dividing. I simply had no time for the debate. I held back because I thought I was wrong.

I held back because I said it was not my business. I was wrong in all those reasons.

Building Zimbabwe is a collective effort that is above race, tribe, sex, gender, political party allegiances, fear of the unknown, protection or preservation of one’s ambition and any other.

Building Zimbabwe is the primary, central and ultimate goal of every citizen of this country and at its pith, is freedom of expression.

To be more precise, everyone must be able to speak their unvarnished truth, openly debate such, accept or refuse alternative truths and facts where they are given, without taking offence, giving or receiving insults and fearing for safety of self and family.

Chamisa is a dictator.

I have talked to a few people who knew Chamisa when he was at Harare Polytechnic. They paint a picture of a young man who always wanted to get his way.

He had a group of friends who would drink with him and were rowdy and would do his bidding when called upon to. Chamisa replicated this trait when he went on to lead an MDC faction.

He founded a violent arm of the party, the Vanguard, which initially comprised people hailing from Kuwadzana where he was a National Assembly member.

His campaign was the biggest red flag for me. Chamisa focused on himself. He did not support his MPs nor councillors, but instead focused on a solo act to see himself elected as President of Zimbabwe.

I cannot speak to his interaction with his MDC faction structures, but his public image showed a man who was not working in tandem with fellow cadres.

He ignored hierarchy, marginalised and ridiculed those opposed to him, leaving them open to attacks by rabid elements in his new party.

This most definitely whipped everyone into line and ensured there were no voices from within MDC Chamisa faction except him. It has escaped most people’s attention, but Chamisa ran throughout his campaign without a vice president nomination. Images of Chancellor Hitler come to my mind.

Even President Mugabe quickly comes to mind too. Power is so centralised to the dictator that he does not share the limelight and if shared, it is shared with a weak and amenable personality. I shudder to think what was going to happen to this post had he won the Presidency he so craved.

His relationships with his alliance partners where a farce. The great Morgan Tsvangirai would allow his partners time to speak their views and even be lead in rallies. Chamisa’s relationship with the partners can be interpreted as abuse. The partners were ignored, marginalised and had promises revoked with no explanation.

I have never met Jacob Ngarivhume in person, but have always been warmed by his love for the country and the movement he was creating. It was all shredded under the alliance and I wonder if the man still has a party to go back to.

I sat before Elton Mangoma and listened to the man speak.

He is a sage of our times, very statute and awake to the realities of our democracy today.

I have talked to many opposition leaders and prominent MDC members, including working briefly with Amai Khupe; these leaders would have greatly enhanced Chamisa’s campaign and standing.

Yet true to his dictatorial tendencies, he side-lined, ignored and or ostracised many of them, harvesting fear within his faction of the MDC and creating a band of yes man around him.

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