ONE of the major political highlights in Zimbabwe in 2022 was the January 22 Press conference when Nelson Chamisa finally weaned himself from the Movement of Democratic Change to form the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
It was, firstly, a major move by Chamisa and, secondly, he outmanoeuvred his nemesis Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had seemingly devoured the MDC by sponsoring Douglas Mwonzora’s rise to lead the opposition party.
Mwonzora, who was aided to the MDC leadership by the State system, went on a rampage firing anyone linked to Chamisa, especially Members of Parliament.
But Chamisa had other ideas.
While Zanu PF was gleefully watching Mwonzora seemingly decimate Chamisa, the young opposition leader announced the formation of CCC.
From red, Chamisa changed colours to yellow.
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Ditching the open palm party symbol, Chamisa pointed to the sky, maybe, indicating that his party was the ONE or even that only “up” was where he was headed.
Chamisa announced his party a few weeks before the by-elections held after members of his MDC Alliance were recalled from Parliament by Mwonzora.
His legislators, led by Tendai Biti, one of Chamisa’s deputies, have given Zanu PF ministers a torrid time.
I am not sure what Mwonzora’s people would have done after their leader received a farm and a vehicle from Mnangagwa.
He had a plan to shock Mnanagagwa and Zanu PF.
Indeed, Chamisa shocked, Mnangagwa going toe-to-toe with Zanu PF while throwing Mwonzora’s MDC into the dustbin.
Chamisa never ceases to surprise.
He has not named any structure for the party with no constitution made public almost 11 months after the party was inaugurated.
This has left many shocked because Zimbabweans are used to such things as party structures.
They want to know who calls the shorts.
But Chamisa has stuck to his guns, revealing nothing and keeping his cards close to the chest.
Not even the cajoling of one Jonathan Moyo, who views himself as a political guru, has shaken Chamisa.
Chamisa has stuck to his guns.
His interim spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said people should not fuss about structures because the CCC belonged to the citizens.
But what is the fuss all about?
Some pundits have argued that Chamisa is showing dictatorial tendencies.
They also argue that the CCC is all about Chamisa.
Chamisa Chete Chete!!!
They think Nero, as he is affectionately known, is shooting himself in the foot.
Chamisa will be sabotaged by his comrades because they feel insecure under him.
Some also say that there is turmoil in Chamisa’s camp.
While some argue that Chamisa does not want to give Zanu PF or State functionaries the opportunity to infiltrate his party, some say even now infiltration is taking place.
However, some believe Chamisa is keeping the party in his “pockets” as a way of dealing with potential internal competitors.
They also believe it is also a way of dealing with senior party members who were closer to Morgan Tsvangirai than him — the so-called old guard.
But whatever the case may be, Chamisa may be right.
He did it successfully when the parties battled in the by-elections.
And structures or no structures, Chamisa drew the largest crowds during campaigns for the by-elections in March this year.
Chamisa does not need structures to coerce people to his rallies because he knows they love him and they will follow him.
Party structures are divisive. It is also strategic. Structures are like a sign post to Zanu PF thugs, who have attacked CCC officials at will.
Zanu PF, with its old Communist or Soviet style structures, has been left fractious everytime its members contest for positions.
We have seen how jostling for position has turned into fierce battles in Zanu PF.
The other parties could be comfortable with structures, but this cannot work for Chamisa.
Chamisa is a young leader and he needs young, modern tactics to deal with his nemesis.
Even if his detractors climb the mountains and shout on top of their voices, Chamisa is free to choose his way of running the party with no outside influence.
I believe Chamisa has his own strategies and there is no need for him to be pushed to form structures.
Who benefits from these structures, after all?
Maybe there are some people interested in positions in the CCC but for what benefit?
The main challenge for Zimbabwean politics is the desire to gain leadership positions, not for the purposes of leading, but ruling.
I do not think this is what Chamisa is looking for in his leadership style.
Chamisa leads from the front like he did when he confronted the police who stopped his rally in Marondera.
Chamisa will never sit at his office and tell people what to do in the comfort of a swivel chair.
He has a strategy, so let him be.
He formed his party and he knows the people he is working with better than all of us.
Whatever happens we await his strategy with bated breath come 2023.
Interesting times ahead!
- Sydney Kawaza is a journalist based in Harare. He writes here in his personal capacity.