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Hurricane Unstoppable: Watching from the terraces - A big Sunday Muzamhindo





Chamisa's ascendancy to power has touched the storms of Harare and indeed it is now hurricane and unstoppable, he got the opportunity and he struck on his competitors. He saw the opportunity and he striked. Problem with current crop of politicians we have in Zimbabwe, they are too bookish and they believe in rumour mongering. You must learn to live with reality that politics is a game of numbers and how you play your cards. You need to have political stamina so that you can maneuver others. Let others do the dirty and donkey work for you. For Chamisa he is always quiet whilst others do the dirty work for him. You can't be in Cape Town and at the same time Johannesburg hospital and then the next thing on ZTV attacking your own party. The next day you want to be on the stage for the alliance rally. We don't work that way in politics. Ground work is a gradual process. Indeed politics has its own dynamics which people should simply accept. Politics and education is different. Watching from the terraces you can easily tell that for one to Challenge Advocate Nelson Chamisa is a mountain to climb, the young veteran politician has his own style of politics. You talk of Khupe she has it all for her to occupy presidency, she is well educated, she has been in the struggle but alas she lacks the political clout to Challenge Nelson Chamisa. One thing which Chamisa's competitors in politics are failing to accept is that indeed Chamisa has grassroots connectivity. Chamisa has a strong appeal at grassroots level. You talk of Mudzuri, he has good leadership qualities, he is one of the best organizer during the 2008 run up elections, but he lacks the appeal which the Kuwadzana Lawmaker possess. You make a strong comparison among the three, you can easily come up with an answer.

The Drama at Highlands

One thing Khupe - Mudzuri faction forget is that it is not Mbuya Tsvangirai or Collins that will have the veto powers in the national council. I don't know why these politicians have gone below the belt failing to cope up with reality, that indeed we have lost in the game. Highlands won't vote for them, they will simply sympathize with them. The idea of hijacking the body of Tsvangirai to play cheap politics will not help them in either way but it will add more woes on their political careers. In fact Khupe, Mudzuri and Mwonzora's political careers are hanging by a thread. If they don't rally behind the young veteran politician then they are done, it will mark the end of their political career. What people fail to understand is that politics and family business are two separate things. Tsvangirai was not the President of Tsvangirai family, but he was a family member, his veto powers could not over ride in family or party matters. Tsvangirai's powers were determined by grassroots connectivity.

Capetown Fiasco

Chamisa plays his cards safe and close to his chest. I've interacted with so many politicians at personal level, be it in the Government or opposition as a leader in the civic society, there is one area which most politicians fail to read (the game on the ground). Most politicians think they are liked because of their education which is totally wrong. Politics has its own ideologies and dynamics. Apparently Khupe, Mudzuri and Mwonzora left for SA - Cape Town trip forgetting that the timing of the trip was very controversial. Chamisa sensing danger and playing his cards well, he outsmarted them leaving the Khupe with an egg on their face. Chamisa made his calculations and he knew the temperatures on the ground, he simply remained on the ground and he played the game very well and it worked to his advantage. That's Chamisa for you.

Constitutionalism

Let's go back to the constitution of the MDC. I think one major problem is that Morgan created so many problems for the party. If you remember very well, the first split with Gibson Sibanda led group, it was the issue of constitution. The Biti group as well there were matters of the constitution. The current fiasco, looking at the constitution of the labour backed party, there is need to revise a lot of clauses. I don't think this is Chamisa's problem. Chamisa was appointed as a VP of the party and the council simply addressed him as VP. Khupe claims to have been elected by Congress, if I may ask how many votes Khupe got in 2014 congress. To me Khupe and Chamisa should speak on the same platform. Khupe was simply endorsed by the congress and Chamisa was simply rubber stamped by Morgan and the council.

How Khupe Lost the Game

I earlier on indicated that politics is a game and you simply have to read the game and understand it. When Tsvangirai introduced the alliance issue, Khupe was supposed to have fought the battle from within. She decided to distance herself from the alliance and mostly inciting party supporters mainly from Matabeleland to go against the alliance. Tsvangirai 'main advantage was grassroots connectivity. To me that's how KHUPE LOST THE GAME. Secondly Chamisa accompanied Tsvangirai to crucial trips e.g. the Kenya one, grassroots consultations and other key meetings. Grassroots would easily read the game and make their own conclusions. No one would want to associate himself/ herself with a rebel. The honest truth is Khupe rebelled against her boss and because of that Tsvangirai got frustrated. There is no way Tsvangirai would have preferred Khupe to succeed him because of her cheap politics.

Political Relevance

When ED was VP of the country his relevance on the political map was very significant. The same ED was expelled, and almost everyone concluded that ED is already out of the game. Chamisa's ascendancy to the throne of the labour backed party - MDC was sealed at airport on his way to Pan- African parliament. That's where Chamisa was endorsed. This is where Douglas Mwonzora and Mudzuri are failing to read the game. You don't get political fame by wearing suits or getting a Law degree. Grassroots endorsement is different from national council endorsement. The other thing which Mwonzora is failing to read between the political lines is that in 2014 it was SG contest. The game and dynamics has changed. This is presidency, and people have invested their time and resources in the party and they would not just give it away.

What Do People Look at Before Choosing a Presidential Candidate

1. Humility

2. Political clout

3. Charisma

4. Grassroots connectivity

5. Conduct

6. Morality

7. Background checks

8. History of the struggle

9. Honest and transparency

10. Political waves and temperatures

Two Main Contenders

2018 has two MAIN candidates Nelson Chamisa and Emerson Mnangagwa. It is now clearer that these two will be the main front runners for the 2018 grab. There is every reason for Zanu PF to panic because look ED will be competing with a younger candidate. This has an impact on the political landscape. Look here overall we have 65% of our population is young generation and this is the same group which has 97% unemployed. If you remember ED and the previous regime led by Mugabe promised 2.2 million jobs and we are 4 months away from the crucial poll, the same group is jobless. Chamisa comes in and he may be an alternative to the young generation. Looking at the two portraits one for ED and Chamisa, obviously the electorate may make critical decisions before casting their vote. Chamisa may get 89.5% of the youth's vote, while ED may get 65.4% of the older generation vote. There is every reason for these guys to panic. Electorate will also look at the issue of history of the candidates. Chamisa so far is smart and clean. Whilst some people may sympathize with ED but it can be a very tricky situation especially that he is coming from the same regime that has promised to turn around the economy in the past.

I Still Insist There Will Be a Re-Run (Second Round)

Most of you either academics or policy makers keep this article for future reference. There is likely to be a run off. I don't see amongst the two MAIN candidates either one of them will get the required 50+1 vote to occupy office. 2. There will be vote splitting amongst Zanu PF, MDC alliance and Mujuru coalition. Don't underestimate the power of G40 and Mujuru's influence in Mash Central, East and West. Mostly these provinces are occupied by G40 and Mujuru led coalition. We have Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland will go to MDC alliance. Zanu PF will handpick rural folk, Midlands and other provinces which are mainly dominated by Lacoste team. Zanu PF strength is mainly on rural electorate. To me the mathematics is very simple:

First runner. 47%

Second runner 29%

Third runner 17%

Others. 7%

It is for you to make your own assessment and conclusion, on which party will come out first.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo Heads Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research - SIPAR TRUST. He is a policy maker and academic in the field of Development. He is currently studying for a PHD in Development studies at Kwazulu Natal University. He can be contacted at southerninstitutepar@gmail.com

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