Sunday, 28 June 2020

ON THE ROPES CHAMISA NEEDS FRESH STRATEGIES


BATTERED and bruised MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, should go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategies to fight for his political life in the wake of the political and legal losses he has suffered at the hands of his rivals so far, analysts have said.

 This comes as woes continue to mount on Chamisa following his morale sapping loss in the battle with MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe over the party’s hugely symbolic Morgan Richard Tsvangirai national headquarters on Friday.

 High Court Judge Justice David Mangota dismissed the 42-year-old politician’s applications to repossess the headquarters from his rivals.

It also comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in mortal combat for the control of the country’s main opposition party, since the death of its larger-than-life founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018.

 MDC-Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende referred questions on the party’s next way forward to spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere who was not taking calls.
 But respected University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunugure, told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that Chamisa must take advantage of his popular appeal to move on.

“The best option for him is to go back to the drawing board to re-strategise in the face of the new challenges he faces. It is a new terrain he is traversing; he has no headquarters, no legal legitimacy; so he cannot pretend it is business as usual. Happily, he still has the popular appeal because while there is no yardstick to measure that now, there is no evidence that he has lost the support of the millions of Zimbabweans,” Masunugure said.

Going forward, Masunugure said, Chamisa must head hunt strategists who appreciate that the MDC-Alliance was engaged in war in a different battleground.

“He should thus take advantage of the support he enjoys because sooner than later, the incremental losses he has incurred will result in his popular base becoming dispirited.
“He needs sharpshooters of strategists to face the new challenge. It is an unenviable task that lies ahead of him but he must face it head on. He must muster the courage to take his adversaries head on,” said Masunugure.

 Another political analyst Piers Pigou said Chamisa is in a catch 22 situation facing war on several fronts where he has to face President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a seemingly partisan judiciary as well as internal opposition rivals.

“Under assault from a politicised judiciary and in the crosshairs of a political strategy from the ruling party and state functionaries ably abetted (consciously or otherwise) by minority detractors within the opposition who present their position as a defence of constitutionalism and the rule of law, albeit in a quagmire of illegitimacy, Chamisa finds himself between the proverbial rock and hard surface,” Pigou said.

As a way forward Pigou suggested that Chamisa should appeal Mangota’s judgment notwithstanding the opposition sentiments that the courts were captured.

“They could seek to recapture momentum, push for a dialogue within the party and broader movement that would help interrogate and expose destabilising agendas.

“They could also take stock and dedicate themselves to grassroots mobilisation to build a more robust electoral base and rig proof options for elections in 2023, whilst systematically exposing corruption, incompetence and brazen abuse of power by the government,” said.
 Pigou ruled out the option of dialogue with either Mnangagwa or Khupe in a context where it is “blatantly obvious that prospects for real democratic reform are negligible”.

This was buttressed by another political analyst Admire Mare who suggested that Chamisa should rebrand himself by setting up a new party headquarters.

“Thus far the law fare strategy has not worked and given capture of certain key institutions by the political establishment, it is best for them not fight over spilt milk but harness the domestic goodwill that they enjoy across the country. They have supporters throughout the country and can easily turn that political capital into financial capital that will take them to the next stage in their quest for a new Zimbabwe,” Mare said.However, Maxwell Saungweme is of the view that Chamisa‘s problems were of his own making after he bungled his ascension to power following Tsvangirai’s demise.

‘‘The whole issue is a mess Chamisa caused by avoiding an extraordinary Congress to succeed Tsvangirai in 2018. He created it.

‘‘The issue is Chamisa used politics to take over power and Khupe and her group are just using politics to take over the party and its properties,” Saungweme said.

While admitting that the country’s judicial system is hardly neutral in the Chamisa, Khupe dispute, Saungweme said it was foolhardy for the former Kuwadzana East legislator to “continuously go to courts instead of using dialogue and politics to address the issue”.

“Chamisa claims he wants dialogue with Mnangagwa but he is evasive and not committed. If Chamisa cannot show leadership by having dialogue with other factions of the MDC at party level to address the challenges then who can believe he is genuine in his calls for dialogue with Mnangagwa.

“Let him show that he believes in dialogue and non-adversarial ways of resolving issues by getting into dialogue with Khupe and solving the party issues before claiming to be interested in dialogue at a national level with Mnangagwa,” Saungweme said. Daily News

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