Lovemore Chikova Assistant Editor
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, is a man of many hats. He is a pastor, a lawyer and a presidential aspirant. People who wear many hats usually use them to their advantage, especially when they are politicians. But from what we have seen of Chamisa so far with regards to the harmonised elections coming on July 30, it is clear the man has failed to combine his talents to the best advantage.
Instead, he has been doing the opposite – his many talents have become his downfall.
Pastors are known to detest lies, at least in public, but Chamisa has already proven that he does not give a damn when it comes to saying untruths, regardless of who is listening.
Lawyers are known to be astute when it comes to dealing with facts and the law, yet Chamisa has been disregarding that in both his actions and words.
His ascendancy to the helm of the MDC-T has been described as an illegal act, far from following the dictates of the party constitution.
Chamisa has given himself a bad image already, one that has led many to doubt his suitability to lead the country.
A political campaign trail founded on lies and half-truths always returns to haunt the protagonist.
Yet Chamisa wears another hat as a pastor. Just where is the eighth commandment in his pastoral lessons? The one which says: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Simply put, the commandment is against people who tell lies.
Remember also John 8 vs 44 which says: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires . . . when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (NIV).
Just watch how Chamisa brightens up when he starts telling his stories and lies in Shona – his native language.
It is a fact that Chamisa’s campaign trail has been littered with distortions, misrepresentations, deceptions, overstatements, exaggerations and outright lies.
Chamisa has been exposed for selling a pie in the sky to his audiences on several occasions, but the man seems to believe the consequences of being caught out far outweigh the political benefits. But the opposite is true.
As a result, Chamisa’s message to the electorate has become more like a fallacy, where voters are told of issues they can hardly relate to.
Yet, when a politician goes out to campaign, one of the decorum is to at least show that they would be accountable leaders if they get into power.
Accountable leaders tell their audiences of issues that are of immediacy, issues that the electorate can relate to so that they will be taken to task by the same electorate. But Chamisa is obviously running away from responsibility, even before he is elected. For instance, what would Chamisa achieve by telling people in Mahusekwa that he would bring the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games to Zimbabwe, if he is elected?
Who among the people in Mahusekwa will take him to account if he eventually fails to bring the World Cup and Olympics to Zimbabwe?
In fact, who will remember that he once made such a promise?
It is clear that the World Cup and Olympics cannot be the real issues pertaining to this election, let alone to people in Mahusekwa or any other part of the country for that matter.
These are obviously not people issues and no one will care to take Chamisa to account for failing to achieve them.
The truth is that Chamisa has a very thin message to take to the electorate, that is why some of his statements have been exposed by world leaders as outright lies.
The United States was forced to denounce him after he alleged that he met President Donald Trump and was promised $15 billion if elected.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame had to publicly chastise Chamisa for claiming that he helped him with his country’s ICT policy and the entire turnaround strategy for the economy.
The $15 billion and the Rwandan ICT story are far-fetched messages to an electorate that is waiting for a tangible campaign message that resonates with their expectations.
You cannot, for example, talk of long-term spaghetti roads to a rural electorate that is waiting to hear what you are doing about the existing roads on which they trudge on a daily basis.
What about the promise of rural airports?
Are they an immediate need of the voters, enough to persuade them to cast their vote for a particular candidate?
These are just hot air promises, evidently not well-thought out for someone aspiring to lead Zimbabwe.
The biggest lesson from this is that voters are not easily swayed by political activism bordering on student politics where anything goes.
The game has since changed, and making one mistake, let alone so many, spells disaster for an aspiring politician.
And the signs of desperation are already visible within the broad MDC Alliance.
The lies and the empty ideology and vision have been exposed and what this means is that there must be a change of tact by Chamisa and his allies.
Very soon a new tactic will be adopted – demonstrations.
While demonstrations, like the one held on Tuesday by the MDC Alliance, can be interpreted as an act of exercising democratic rights, it means more than that to the opposition party.
The demonstrations are a new strategy the MDC Alliance is using in preparation for a soft landing in light of the pending loss in the July 30 harmonised elections.
It is a known fact that from the year 2000, the MDC-T has been winning in Harare constituencies, and in that context, the opposition party can manage to raise a sizeable crowd in the capital.
It is such crowds in Harare that the MDC-T would want to point to after their loss in the harmonised elections.
“How could we lose the elections when we could raise so many crowds for our demonstrations?” – they will argue, but, of course, in vein.
Harare is not Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe is not Harare. How many times does the opposition need to be reminded of this undiluted fact?
In the same manner, the MDC and its so-called partners are not 100 percent sure of their standing in Harare and other cities where they used to win constituencies.
The political dynamics have changed in Zimbabwe since November last year with the advent of the new dispensation.
While Zanu-PF maintains its dominance in the rural provinces, as evidenced by the high turnout during its recent primary elections, the MDC-T is no longer sure about its urban vote.
This explains why there is so much trepidation within the opposition alliance, which is already built on shaky ground.
Chamisa is perhaps taking the phrase that the political campaign season is a “silly” too literary, and assumes that everyone becomes so crazy to the point of not caring about facts.
Yet people scrutinise everything said by politicians during that ‘silly season’ of election and that should help them determine when they are about to waste their vote.