Leaders need followers more than followers need leaders


The Supreme Court ruling nullifying the MDC presidency of Nelson Chamisa came at an odd time such that upon hearing the news, some dismissed it as the conveyor belt of social media gibberish or a ploy to emasculate the opposition.

The likelihood of such a ruling in the midst of a global crisis in the form of COVID-19, confounded logic and on its own became a source of contention as the truth of the ruling morphed into an unpalatable reality for MDC Alliance followers. Nearly, everyone in the opposition cited the politicization of the judiciary and that, for logical reasons too. The decision indeed gave no cognizance to some case judgments very similar to the case that was decided on.

A lot had transpired ever since the demise of MDC founding father the late Morgan Tsvangirai. It appeared, to many, that the acrimony between erstwhile united opposition stalwarts Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe had seen its day.

From the dramatic tension at Tsvangirai’s funeral involving Tsvangirai’s mother’s disdain for Chamisa and Tsvangirai’s widow to the disputed presidential election of 2018, people thought the delta between the two was a closed chapter. Khupe had found a home in her own MDC-T political outfit and Chamisa in the MDC Alliance. Even as it stands, it is unfathomable how Chamisa and Khupe can even be seen at the same congress as should happen according to the Supreme Court ruling. It becomes even comic to think that the likes of Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube would better still confidently become party to an opposition led by Khupe who has been seen in instances of supping with the MDC’s arch nemesis, Zanu PF.

Coming back to the ruling, its major highlight is the directive that Chamisa is illegitimate and must be replaced at congress within three months. Now, whether there are double standards within the judiciary or whether there is politicization of the courts as cited by the MDC, one thing is apparent. Khupe, whom everyone had come to know and associate with the leadership of the MDC-T, hardly commands any meaningful followership in the opposition of the country. This is a living fact.

The country’s finest legal minds may dig deep into the depths of political court judgments and argue the matter politically; the highest court in the land could try and ram the MDC presidency of Khupe down opposition supporters’ throats but it must be grasped that it is not in the glamour and glitter of the country’s deluxe courts that political leaders are made. It is indeed ironical that in cases like these, politics dwarfs the law. Politics is precisely a game of numbers.

The argument by Morgen Komichi and Douglas Mwonzora that Chamisa should have followed the MDC constitution and their astounding latching onto the recent Supreme Court judgment should produce a more sagacious opposition movement in the future.

These were comrades who fought the present regime alongside Chamisa or should we say who gave an air of fighting the present regime but before the ink on the ruling of the Supreme Court had dried, we heard them speak as if they had had a copy of the judgment before. Mwonzora’s comments, in particular, betrayed a man whose bitterness had been kept bottled for years. Chamisa must be wary.

Evidence of Khupe’s midget political stature in politics is evident. In the last presidential vote, Khupe garnered 0,95% of the national vote. It must be matter-of-factly said that despite the ululation of the Supreme Court ruling by Chamisa’s erstwhile comrades in opposition, Khupe assuming the MDC presidency, to any logical political analyst, would spell the end of opposition politics in Zimbabwe. No leader can lead without followers. In essence, the term leadership in itself cannot exist in the absence of a flock. A title or ruling has never made anyone a leader. It would rather be dumb for anyone to celebrate over leading a mythical opposition when in reality they know they are forced upon non-existent followers.

The beauty about leadership is that it is the prerogative of followers to give allegiance to a person they identify with. A leader who has no flowers, for all intense and purposes, is simply taking a walk.

One would expect people in the opposition to have mastered this lesson from days gone by. Despite his academic shortfalls, Tsvangirai, a self-made academic shook the foundations of Zanu PF to the core.

He goes down in history as the man who fought Zanu PF hegemony and showed the nation that dictatorship can be fought. How did Tsvangirai, scorned and ridiculed do it? It’s simple, the man had followers. No one can lead without followers and Khupe is no exception despite the Supreme Court ruling. Famished and abused they may be, but Zimbabweans are not blind to the fact of what constitutes a formidable opposition.

 Learnmore Zuze is a legal officer and writes in his personal capacity


  1. I would like to repeat the last statement to all zanupf headless trolls… “Famished and abused they may be, but Zimbabweans are not blind to the fact of what constitutes a formidable opposition”.

    2.6 million of us, voted for Nelson Chamisa. Full stop. Whatever the compromised courts may say…Chamisa is our leader and we shall see after the lockdown. Tick tock….

  2. Its now pretty clear ladies and gentlemen that this GAMBAKWE GUY is part of the traitors amongst us. He is part of the ZANU PF vehicle that includes Kuphe, Mwonzora, Komichi, Gutu etc.

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