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Has Chamisa learnt from his mistakes?

Opinion & Analysis
MY chance encounter with Nelson Chamisa at the British ambassador’s residence last week triggered some reflection.

MY chance encounter with Nelson Chamisa at the British ambassador’s residence last week triggered some reflection.

At this beautiful garden party to celebrate King Charles III’s birthday, I noticed that Chamisa’s body language now communicated a sense of humility, which is markedly different from previous encounters.

The air of entitlement and invincibility was decidedly absent.

For starters, Chamisa actually approached me and greeted me as “his long-lost brother”.

We might be estranged, but he remains my beloved brother in Christ.

Twice now Chamisa has failed in his ambition to get to State House and deliver a change of government for his multitude of supporters.

Failure is always a good thing if we learn from it. Has Chamisa and his indisciplined supporters learnt a thing from defeat?

Only time will tell.

Granted, Zanu PF and the State security system played a big role in destroying the opposition, but Chamisa and those around him must take some responsibility.

That is the first and arguably most important lesson.

Studying political adversaries is well and good, but introspection is perhaps much more valuable. As things stand, Zimbabwe has no opposition to speak of.

Chamisa still has potential to be the leader of the first successful opposition, only if he has learnt from the hard knocks of his two failures.

Understanding the assignment at hand is important for success.

Given our collective brokenness, the goal of any opposition is the fundamental transformation of our society.

Healing our national psyche will be hugely significant for durable change.

Consequently, change is not just about removing Zanu PF from power, important as this may be. It is important to understand that Zanu PF has become a cancer in our entire society.

The ruling party is sadly synonymous with incompetence, mediocrity, greed and corruption.

Zanu PF must be removed root and branch and give way to foundations of a new society.

Any opposition that does not realise our brokenness and the need for healing will have limited success in Zimbabwe.

The enormity of the national and generational task at hand and, indeed, the damage the opposition has suffered serves as a warning that this is something that is unlikely to be achieved by one person.

This lesson is hugely important to both leaders and followers in opposition politics.

The message to Zimbabweans is be an informed, engaged and active citizenry.

An engaged, informed and tolerant citizenry will ensure opposition politics is manned by men and women of substance.

Instead of depending on one person, those wanting sustainable change must get involved in building a broad-based coalition rooted on democratic values such as constitutionalism, tolerance, rule of law, transparency and accountability. It is only a movement that coalesces around values and principles, not transient grievances, that will change our society.

Consequential leadership is a collective of competent men and women. It is team work not individualism.

Democracy at national level will not be delivered by a political party run by cultists, hooligans and sycophants.

The heavy lifting nation-building agenda requires building political parties that cherish strong institutions and practise democracy at the branch and national levels.

A political party without a constitution and rules-based conduct must not be trusted with statecraft.

In fact, such a political party is a real threat to fundamental tenets such as freedom of expression and Press freedom.

Party constitutions are an inconvenience to small and big dictators, but they are critical in protecting the organisation and individuals from overreach and abuse.

Constitutions and internal good governance provide for stability and continuity.

If it is Chamisa that Zimbabweans want, then they must by now have realised that he is human and fallible.

They then must futureproof our politics by ensuring that he is surrounded by a strong circle of rivals who will help to make him a better leader.

Chamisa has age on his side. Right now, he should be on a listening roadshow with fellow pastors, independent civil society and business.

He should sit down, shut up, take notes and then go away and reflect.

In rebuilding from his failures, he must embrace those far better than him into his inner circle.

He must not be intimidated by sharp minds around him, but rather realise that good leaders tend to surround themselves with people far better than them.

For Zimbabwe to prosper, the entrenched Zanu PF cancerous culture must be replaced by leaders who don’t mimic the ruling party.

Zimbabwe will be better served by an environment that has strong opposition political parties and a vibrant marketplace of ideas.

  •  Trevor Ncube is chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and host of ICWT

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