ZIMBABWE – An overwhelming 64,5 percent of Nehanda Radio listeners and readers of the website believe Kuwadzana legislator Nelson Chamisa is the best person to succeed Morgan Tsvangirai as the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T).
The charismatic Tsvangirai (63), a former trade union leader, has led the party for over 16 years now. In the event that he steps down in the future for what ever reason, the question we wanted our readers to answer is, who is the best person to take over.
So far ahead was Chamisa in the online poll that the person who came second, Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora, had 9,6 percent of the vote. In third place with 9,2 percent was former Organising Secretary Elias Mudzuri, a former mayor of the capital city Harare.
Vice President Thokozani Khupe came fourth with 6,6 percent of the vote while national spokesman Obert Gutu was fifth with 5,7 percent. Tapiwa Mashakada was sixth with 3,5 percent while Treasurer General Theresa Makone was seventh with 0.9 percent of the vote.
Chamisa’s popularity is in stark contrast with his showing at the MDC congress where he lost to Mwonzora. Many believe the young legislator paid the ultimate price for opposing changes to the constitution that gave Tsvangirai too much power. Its alleged Tsvangirai openly sided with Mwonzora to ensure Chamisa’s defeat in the congress elections.
Its also claimed relations between Tsvangirai and Chamisa remain strained and that those loyal to Tsvangirai in the party are trying to engineer Chamisa’s expulsion from the party. With online polls like this suggesting Chamisa’s popularity, its not hard to see why. Last week Tsvangirai was asked about allegations that he and Chamisa led factions in the MDC.
“There are people who are not ready to see the MDC united. There are people who have their own imaginations of divisions, and we are not Zanu PF. They want to compare us with Zanu PF. No. Chamisa is not even in the standing committee, and he is a member of the executive,” Tsvangirai was quoted saying.
“How do you have a faction of a member of the national executive fighting a member of the standing committee, how does that happen. I would imagine this issue of factionalism lives in the imagination of certain media but it won’t happen.
“We work very smoothly with Chamisa. He has been appointed to coordinate policy and he is playing his role, that is how a party should work, division of labour, there is only one leader at a time. I am talking of a big tent beyond the party. How do I then lead a faction? There is no substance,” Tsvangirai said in the interview.