By Pieter Ziegler
Chamisa has come a long way since he was seen as a young, fresh and the ultimate contrast to Mnangagwa’s scarred self.
At 45, he remains young against the ancient politicians commonly found in Africa.
As a beacon of hope he still retains the status.
Change Is Inevitable
What is slowly seeping out and lacking is the effervescent energy, dynamism and swagger.
He is no longer a radical torch threatening to blow out ZANU PF’s 4 decades of darkness.
Instead, he has morphed into a steady pillar upon which many are expectantly holding onto, with stoic hope and resignation if all fails.
The exuberance of yesteryear is gone in its place is a simple insistent awareness that he is the only viable hope.
His supporters cling ever so closely with a fortitude travailing to birth what reality is failing to bear.
Meanwhile, his opponents still grudgingly regard him as the most potent opposition weapon.
Time In the Trenches
The long years in opposition trenches have begun to take their toll on both the movement and the person.
People have come a long way since when they could believe that an X could shift positions as a rigging trick.
The years are gone when verbose legal semantics, while losing the case, was fodder enough to live on.
The years when he held the potency to call for a demonstration with devastating repercussions are now archived.
Today it’s a delicate move as the numbers may not be as expected in the streets.
For all Chamisa’s insistence in his victory in 2018, he provided no tangible evidence of rigging or of his claim that he secured 56% of the vote.
The political and logical still remember that.
“People are calling on me, wanting me to give the signal to go to the streets.
“But I am worried there will be massive bloodshed,” he said in 2018.
All Power And No Swagger
Today he may call for that and a few hundred of the hardcore can emerge from eking a living to demonstrate.
It’s a testament of the times and the wilting activism among the general cirizenry.
Chamisa remains the most powerful opposition politician but the energy is slowly dissipating as ZANU PF continues defying karma.
Reflexively, he has turned to religion, fortifying his conviction and that of supporters with Bible verses and narratives.
The trick has not worked as it has become another reason sowing doubt about his continued political virility.
His empire still stands, not tottering as ZANU PF would make you believe.
However, it’s now prone to moments of depressive doubt and wilting convictions.
Wamba retains enough potency to win election but he won’t do it on the back of a heaving mass of energised followers.
The wave of opposition support is slowly settling down into something dependable and enduring.
Yet the more it goes without a Chamisa win, the more likely Chamisa loses the lustre and shine that has made him who he is.