Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s photographic credential as a battle hardened leader is a bloody image from 2007 when he was assaulted at the Robert Mugabe airport while on his way to Brussels.
His supporters and defenders have constantly pointed at the image as a graphic capture of the resolute fighter that he is, braving such dastardly acts to remain on the course for delivering Zimbabwe.
They cannot even identify the irony that his highest point as a fighter is as a victim.
Remove that episode of violence and Chamisa stands as an oratorical and charismatic leader whose vibe and persona lends no kin to violence, radicalism or any feather ruffling.
He is one politician who will smoother you with words and verses till salvation lies, not in any revolutionary action against the Mafia of ZANU PF, but in the punch and amount of semantic flexibility one can muster.
It’s no wonder those who have been in ZANU PF cannot believe that Chamisa can ever remove ZANU PF.
They have stared the wild beast in the eye, smelled the ravenous appetite it portends and understood how it lacks every other morsel of political dignity and have realised that Chamisa’s blustering rhetoric is hot air.
Front for Economic Freedom (FEEZ) leader Godfrey Tsenengamu said the same this week.
“In our approach we are radical and militant. We believe in confronting the problem, whatever it is.
“We are so much convinced that under the leadership of Advocate Nelson Chamisa, if we were to work with him under CCC, we were not going to achieve what we intend to achieve.
“Yes we admit they are a very strong movement. Advocate Chamisa is very likeable, a good public speaker but we think that he is weak somehow. He is ineffective.
“The situation that Zimbabwe finds itself in doesn’t require a leadership that thinks ZANU PF is going to be removed through prayers and twitting.
“ZANU PF is a beast that has to be confronted head-on. Zimbabwe requires a movement that can square up to ZANU PF blow for blow,” he said.
The Mbare and Sikhala Cases
This need for a somewhat vigilante leader has been explicitly laid bare in two cases where the opposition and its leader have come across as naïve, limited and politically obtuse.
The first has been the on-going and never-ending case of MP Job Sikhala.
Sikhala, together with 16 others, has been blatantly refused bail, persecuted and essentially used as a prototype of what the system will do to the opposition hot heads.
It appears to have worked because suddenly the opposition has grown a profound belief in the country’s legal system that they have literally sat back.
The abject lack of initiative to deal with the matter has frustrated many who have begun questioning CCC’s ability to defend the vote in 2023.
If they cannot defend a legislator how will they manage thousands of polling stations?
Chamisa has not covered himself in glory as his opportunities and avenues for initiative have remained filled with the same platonic and watered altar sermons as of normal days.
His self-effacing aspiration for high office has come off not as humbleness but timidity and fear.
Resultantly Sikhala, has become a shadow dulling the podium glow of Chamisa’s supposedly evocative posts and speeches.
Whatever sphaghetti visions he churns they will forever be dragged from full expression by the hard-edged reality of a manacled Sikhala.
Mbare, The Revolution That Was Lost
The violence that exploded in Mbare has been a long time coming as the place has been a bubbling cauldron of tension, friction and corruption.
Harare City Council at one point wanted the Joint Operations Command (JOC) to come in and help corral the space barons who have taken over the trading areas.
Council has been failing to collect rents as the space barons, using political muscle, ran the place.
Being under the CCC controlled City Council, Mbare was supposed to be used by the opposition as a model for what they could bring to the larger country.
The opposition should have used its machinery and systems to push out the space barons and ushered in order and efficiency.
However over the past 3 years they have failed.
Mbare remains a boondock of cartels, space barons, abused traders and a no-go area for city authorities.
The opposition has been impotent in Mbare and that has become a testament of their impotence elsewhere and everywhere.
The traders have suffered while they watch and the most that has been done is complaints and accusations.
As 2023 draws near Mbare and Sikhala remain as opportunities which the opposition and its leader may have missed to make a statement.
The loudest statement remaining is that they remain vulnerable, weak and full of speech.