Nelson Chamisa, the prominent opposition figure in Zimbabwe for the past five years, recently resigned from the Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC), a party he founded exactly two years ago.
The tumultuous events leading to his departure included political intrigues, a lack of conventional structures within the CCC, and a controversial internal candidate selection process for the August 2023 harmonised elections.
The CCC, born in January 2022, operated without established structures or founding documents, setting the stage for its eventual implosion post-general elections on August 23-24.
A faction led by Mr. Sengezo Tshabangu executed a series of recalls, backed by judiciary rulings that seemingly handed Tshabangu control of the party.
Chamisa’s subsequent 13-page resignation document, citing the CCC as ‘contaminated,’ left many wondering whether this move was a strategic maneuver or a surrender. In this article, I offer my opinion on part of the problem and what it means.
The Core Issue: Power and Control
The formation of the CCC can be traced back to the internal upheaval within the MDC Alliance, which was under the leadership of Nelson Chamisa from 2018-2020. The underlying issue that continues to plague Zimbabwean opposition politics is the persistent battle for power and control.
Contemporary mainstream opposition, rather than being anchored in robust institutions and defined rules, predominantly revolves around electoral success and the sway of public opinion, presenting a serious challenge.
Ahead of the 2023 general election the CCC, shaped around the charismatic appeal of Chamisa, lacked a cohesive strategy to address the potential ramifications of electoral setbacks. Absence of a shared roadmap in the face of adversity rendered the CCC susceptible to internal discord and fragmentation.
Without a solid framework to navigate the intricacies of power dynamics, the party found itself exposed to internal conflicts, emphasizing the pressing need for a more structured and resilient approach to opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
Distant or Indifferent Chamisa?
The conspicuous lack of involvement in the internal tribulations of the CCC by Nelson Chamisa was not merely a post-resignation revelation; it manifested well before the formal announcement of his departure.
Rather than immersing himself in the legal battles that besieged the party, Chamisa opted for a hands-off approach, delegating the responsibility to others. This deliberate choice to distance himself from the intricacies of internal strife served as an early indicator of a growing disconnection.
Beyond his disinterest in legal proceedings, Chamisa’s aloofness extended to a notable absence of coordination with the elected representatives within the party. The echoes of this disconnection reverberated through the ranks, leaving a palpable sense of discord.
The public revelation of his resignation, in essence, aligned seamlessly with his privately held disposition. It served as a confirmation of a protracted period during which Chamisa gradually withdrew his investments, both emotionally and strategically, from the internal disputes plaguing the party.
This unraveling of connection raises questions about the leadership dynamics within CCC and adds a layer of complexity to the broader narrative surrounding Chamisa’s role in Zimbabwean opposition politics.
Strategic or Capitulation?
In the complex realm of political strategy, where shades of gray often dominate, Nelson Chamisa’s recent move prompts a critical examination of its nuanced nature, oscillating between strategic maneuvering and potential capitulation.
The pivotal factor in assessing the impact lies in the forthcoming outcomes. Chamisa’s leadership, historically challenged in mobilizing the masses effectively, raises doubts about whether his resignation will usher in a transformative shift in this regard.
The broader context underscores the intricate web of Zimbabwe’s political challenges, suggesting that resolution may necessitate not only internal recalibration but also regional intervention.
Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Chamisa’s standing appears to lack the requisite leverage for substantive influence.
As the need for external mediation looms large, questions arise regarding the extent of Chamisa’s ability to shape regional dynamics and garner support for change within the complex political landscape of Zimbabwe.
This raises a crucial debate on whether Chamisa’s recent actions are primarily a strategic recalibration for local headlines or a genuine attempt to navigate the broader, intricate web of regional and domestic politics.
Not All Is Lost
Despite grappling with formidable challenges, Nelson Chamisa remains a towering figure of significant popularity, a formidable asset in the volatile landscape of Zimbabwean politics.
His departure from the CCC not only liberates him from the intricate web of local authorities and parliamentary responsibilities but also serves as a crucial juncture for personal reflection and strategic recalibration.
This hiatus offers Chamisa an invaluable opportunity to delve into a period of introspection, allowing him to reevaluate his political trajectory and potentially realign his strategies without the encumbrances of party leadership.
In the aftermath of his resignation, Chamisa stands at the crossroads, facing the prospect of emerging from this period of reflection with renewed strength.
The absence of the burdensome responsibilities associated with leading a political party provides him with the flexibility to reassess his approach, refine his leadership style, and strategize for the dynamic political landscape ahead.
In summation, Chamisa’s departure from CCC not only marks a significant chapter in his political journey but also sparks crucial inquiries into the state of opposition politics within Zimbabwe.
It underscores the imperative need for robust structures and shared strategies to navigate the complex webs of the nation’s political panorama.
As the repercussions of Chamisa’s move unfold, the ultimate judgment of whether it signifies a strategic recalibration or a capitulation hinges on the evolving political dynamics in the post-resignation landscape.
The unfolding narrative will provide a clearer understanding of the implications of this pivotal development on both Chamisa’s political trajectory and the broader spectrum of opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
Pride Mkono is a political analyst and strategist. He writes here in his own personal capacity and can be contacted on email@example.com