Zimbabwe: Chamisa in Pickle Over Mugabe Ties

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and former president Robert Mugabe (file photo).

MDC — Alliance presidential candidate in today's harmonised elections Mr Nelson Chamisa has thrown his political career into a tailspin after raising a spectre of former President Mugabe's second coming in active politics. This followed his admission on Saturday that he was working with Mr Mugabe who presided over the country's economic meltdown.

The Herald is reliably informed that the alliance which is backing Mr Chamisa's presidential bid is not comfortable working with Mr Mugabe and is urging its members to spoil presidential ballots or to vote for other candidates.

The white community which acted as the gateway to MDC-T's international donor funding is also not happy with the Chamisa-Mugabe marriage.

Sources close to Mr Chamisa's grand plan confided that former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe was earmarked to take over as Mr Chamisa's deputy in the unlikely event that he wins in today's elections.

"What Chamisa has succeeded in doing through this association with Mugabe is to raise the spectre of Mugabe's second coming albeit bodily disguised as young Chamisa at the helm and Grace Mugabe as the deputy," said the source.

"This has raised a formidable backlash within the MDC-Alliance itself with high-ranking officials urging their members to vote for MDC-Alliance MPs and councillors, but to either spoil their presidential vote or to vote for anyone else.

"The expectation is that the result will soften Chamisa for an ouster. To complicate matters for the young man, the Western world watched with utter disbelief as the alliance seeks to bring back their worst enemy whom they fought for so many years.

"Worse when you consider the reaction of the white community here who whilst numerically insignificant, was in fact MDC-T's bridgehead to Western donors."

Another source within the MDC-Alliance ranks said the nation should not be short sighted and recall that the relationship between Messrs Mugabe and Chamisa had a long standing history dating back to the days of the Government of National Unity when Mr Chamisa wrote a note to the then Zanu-PF national commissar Mr Saviour Kasukuwere praising Mr Mugabe's leadership qualities (see note to the right).

The source said MDC founding leader, the late Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, wanted Messrs Chamisa and Tendai Biti fired from the GNU for being over ambitious, but were protected by Mr Mugabe.

"It should be remembered that the dalliance between Mugabe and Chamisa started way back during the GNU," said a disgruntled MDC-Alliance official.

"For the record, the late Tsvangirai sought the assistance of the then president to get rid of two key MDC officials during the period of the GNU and these were Mr Tendai Biti who was the Finance Minister and Nelson Chamisa who was the ICT Minister.

"The late Tsvangirai wanted both dismissed from the GNU for being too ambitious and threatening his own leadership. It was (Mr) Mugabe who saved both.

"The tension between the late Tsvangirai and Chamisa heightened when Chamisa passed a hand written note to Saviour Kasukuwere in which he praised Mugabe for better leadership than what his own president offered.

"To Tsvangirai, that reeked of disloyalty, but much worse, it suggested the growing affinities between Chamisa and Mugabe. Mugabe stoutly refused to dismiss both even declaring that if this would collapse the GNU, so be it.

"When the late Tsvangirai wouldn't have his way, he turned his focus to party processes to neutralise the two characters.

"His first target was Tendai Biti who was almost gone during the party's special congress in Bulawayo had it not been of an 11th hour financial rescue from some Western diplomats.

"A few days after the congress, Biti reached Mugabe to confide that had it not been for this last minute rescue, he would have been history.

"Briefing officials, (Mr) Mugabe then said I didn't ask what the 11th hour rescue was or where it came from.

"Still Tsvangirai did not relent until of course Biti was hounded out of MDC to create his own PDP.

"The next target became Chamisa and the blunt instrument which Tsvangirai employed again at another congress to neutralise Chamisa was Mwonzora who beat Chamisa hands down. The only difference between Chamisa and Biti was that by that time Chamisa knew that his boss was terminally ill and thus decided to play a waiting game. His idea was to wrestle the MDC infrastructure and not to go the Biti way."

The source added that Messrs Mugabe and Chamisa also have business deals where the latter was contracted to transport Gushungo Dairy products.

Further, it was also established that the Mugabes have been of late funding Mr Chamisa's campaign after securing funds from a Far East country.

"You could not miss how Mr Chamisa's campaign was oiled in the last days," said the source.

"He got funding from the Mugabes that breathed life in his campaign.

"Remember recently he had his poorly done stage collapse during a rally and all of a sudden he had funds to fund his operations and constructing expensive stages."

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