Chamisa lacks strategy, ideology, legitimacy, Prof. Moyo

MDC A leader Nelson Chamisa


By Mutsa Makuvaza
FORMER ZANU-PF propagandist Professor Jonathan Moyo has penned a brutally honest ten-point piece of advice to embattled MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa, criticizing the way Chamisa has managed the opposition movement and offering strategic moves Chamisa can begin to take to save the movement.
The document was leaked to this writer and two other journalists by an MDC Alliance Vice President who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.

Exiled former Zimbabwe Minister Prof. Jonathan Moyo

However, when Jonathan Moyo learnt of the security breach and leak of the document after being questioned about the contents of the document last night, he rushed to publish snapshots of the document on his own Twitter handle saying they were penned by “a longstanding activist in the broader democratic movement and a legal practitioner with embassy experience”.


1.The first disrespect of the people’s will happened with the Elias Mudzuri/Nelson Chamisa appointment as Vice Presidents by Morgan Tsvangirai. Thokozani Khupe was ELECTED by CONGRESS in terms of the party CONSTITUTION.

  1. At the time of Morgan Tsvangirai’s death Chamisa was by far the most popular party leader and would have easily won at any extraordinary congress. The option chosen to succeed Tsvangirai is proving to be wrong.
  2. The legal strategy employed to defend the party’s name, assets and standing is incomplete and self-destructive. For instance, having senior leaders depose affidavits that they are not members of the party was ill conceived. The MDC Constitution provides for automatic expulsion of persons who profess to be members of another political party.
    The long-term effect is that those working deposed to such affidavits are automatically barred from competing in the extraordinary congress.
  3. Related to the failed legal strategy is the false narrative by the party leaders, lawyers and the communication department that the 31 March Supreme Court judgement has no effect / implications on the party. It did, it does, it will continue to. Chamisa is cited in the Supreme Court papers as the 2nd Appellant. There is no way he was not going to be affected.
  4. Recalls debacle: It’s obvious the recall process is being abused but the context is that Thokozani Khupe and company were recalled in the same manner in April 2018.
    The hullabaloo of respecting voters is dishonest propaganda on this account. Recalls by their very own nature are political tools. Political parties use them to enforce discipline and loyalty.
    During the Constitution making process, all the three parties to COPAC agreed to recalls for that reason. To argue that some politicians can recall and others should not is dishonesty of the highest order on the part of Chamisa and or his supporters.
  5. The leadership structure is not grounded in the party’s base. The MDC of Morgan Tsvangirai was rooted in labour and student movement. The challenge today is that the MDC under Chamisa and the bulk of the influence over it is elitist and capitalist.
    By way of example, Tsvangirai and company enjoyed invaluable support of international partners like the International Labour Organisation (ILO). What could be the basis for ILO, for example, to support the MDC of today? None.
    The list of traditional supporters, donors and sympathisers who have been alienated and infuriated by the current MDC Alliance leadership is long.
  6. Money issues: No Zimbabwean political party has the food will to raise funds like the MDC. The framework needs to be right, the accounting authorities and their accounting standards need to be credible. The mere promise of an audit is dissimilar to an actual audit.
    The fundamental point is that for the MDC to be the alternative to Zanu-PF, to be the Government in waiting, it must do so by way of demonstration and not by mere speech.
    Zanu-PF has never and will never publish its books of accounts. The MDC must be different. Very. Nowhere in its history has the public witnessed so many rags to riches stories of MDC leaders as is the case of sitting (some now recalled) MDC Councillors.

The party leadership rightly set up an Ethics Committee which has remained mum on the issues.

  1. Strategy. Strategy. Strategy. The average political observer can describe in broad terms Zanu-PF strategy is to destroy the opposition. Thokozani Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora’s strategy is also apparent from their execution of it.
    Most of the political discourse reality to South African opposition politics is easily discernible to those with political interest. Both the EFF and the DA have definable strategies.
    It’s obvious the leadership doesn’t have to share every detail but their supporters know the trajectory and the party policy on certain issues.
    MDC supporters and sympathisers in general don’t know the party’s general response to recent and current challenges. Yet they must know.
  2. Strengthen the institutions around Nelson Chamisa. Chamisa remains hugely popular among party supporters and voters. He has age and good health on his side opposed to most of his competitors. His weakness is that he has decimated the party’s key decision-making organs.

Collective decisions must be made collectively. The weakness of the organs in the amended constitution has had the unintended consequence of weakening the party.
Revelations of Zanu-PF fights at Politburo in the G40s vs Lacoste days make it clear that Zanu-PF people take party business more seriously than MDC.
Standing Committee, National Executive and National Council meetings in the MDC must never be praise and worship events. The members must hold the leadership to account. When leaders make unilateral decisions, the bodies must seek explanation. Not all engagement is dissent. Even still, not all dissent is bad for the party.
The current position in the MDC Alliance that Nelson Chamisa does no wrong is just dishonest and does the party no good at all. I can accept that members may be asked to criticise in private and praise in public but no party of 3 million people can ever agree on everything.

  1. Was forward: Whether Chamisa is at Congress or not, he is still a participant in the same way that he still wins Mayoral elections despite the recalls.
    The outcome of the Zanu PF induced extraordinary congress will be dictated by Nelson Chamisa’s open support for competing candidates . The objective is twofold: to take control of the party and to disable his opponents. How does total surrender of the party achieve either of these?
    – Zimbabwe Voice

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