MY TURN with Tichaona Zindoga
Of course, we are tempted to talk about the controversial MDC faction Nelson Chamisa and his growing notoriety for making dubious claims during his rallies.
Meeting US President Donald J. Trump and being promised US$15 billion. Promising to build airports at every rural homestead (airport pamba pako). Promising bullet trains. Promising small towns to be elevated to cities and being capitals (like, “capital city in every town”). Promising roads on which drivers will travel while closing their eyes.
He is promising much more.
He is lying much more — the latest and most outrageous one being the one he made in Bulawayo as he lied that he had visited the late national hero and vice president Dr Joshua Nkomo’s home.
He claimed that he had been bequeathed a traditional, family heirloom from the late Father Zimbabwe’s inheritance.
Chamisa’s utterances have divided Zimbabweans.
Some call him a dreamer, but others call him unrealistic and liar.
He is the hyperbole.
Nelson Chamisa enjoys the limelight. He likes to hear the sound of his voice.
This could be driving him to the limit as he seeks to keep his audiences on their feet, showering him with love for selling them hopes and dreams.
There are many people who do not care about being lied to.
It’s the nature of politics: the belief that becomes a religion.
And yes, Chamisa’s supporters are becoming more and more like religious fanatics in these new churches.
They worship man.
They lie on the floor and let him stand and step on their prostrate bodies.
They can eat grass — just because they believe.
It’s beyond reason and cognition. Do not try to understand it if you are not part of the discipleship.
We are in the post-truth era. It is an era where facts do not matter and people are bigoted and do not listen to reason.
His supporters cheer him on and will kill for him.
Birth of Nerrorism
Outside of his other monikers, “Cobra” — which we understand refers to a deceitful streak in him; and “Wamba Dia Wamba”, a Congolese politician notorious in his day as a demagogic rebel — Chamisa’s supporters refer to him as “Nero”, a bastardisation of his first name by Shona speakers.
One that carries some affection, though, usually knighting some local thugs that are held in a strange mixture of awe and admiration.
The likes of Gidza, Dhadza, Kodza, etc.
They call him Nero.
That is supposed to confer on him the status of some kind of ringleader of a notorious gang.
They give him a big chair wherein he sits like a king, and Chamisa loves it. When he takes to the stage, he is targeting these admirers and worshippers of a false god.
Chamisa is a false god. Never mind he is someone with self-proclaimed orthodox religious inclinations.
When his supporters fall at his feet and worship him he just loves it.
He wants them to do it even more. He wants them to do more: to throw their clothes down for him, cover themselves with dirt and wallow in uncontrollable trances.
Chamisa wants to hypnotise his followers.
Then, he will have complete control over them.
When the supporters are so hyponitised they won’t know what they will be doing.
This is the birth of Nerrosism.
We are in an interesting era. Nerrorists are all over social media and on the ground — the kind of people who would burn alive other human beings simply because they do not agree with the Gospel According to Nero.
They unleash terror, and their intolerance is remarkable for a party that we always thought represented democracy and diversity.
You would not want to cross the path of a Nerrorist!
At the deep end
That was the title of the book by Chamisa’s predecessor, Morgan Tsvangirai (may his dear soul rest in eternal peace). To all intents and purposes, Tsvangirai left Chamisa, and the opposition, at the deep end — almost unfathomable.
This can be held to account for Chamisa’s erratic and dubious behaviour. It is a fact that Chamisa did not enjoy enough, if any, mentorship from Tsvangirai. The latter appointed him party vice president at an uncertain time which he spent losing the battle against of cancer.
The elevation of Chamisa and Mudzuri as vice presidents was controversial and possibly illegal.
The two men never settled.
The ensuing fight in the succession race meant that Tsvangirai not only failed to handle succession but also threw the party in some deep, deep end.
It will be difficult to emerge from this: Thokozani Khupe is leading a faction while former chairperson Lovemore Moyo has formed his own party.
There cannot be any recovery of this state of affairs.
The second, and probably most important factor why Chamisa is behaving like a mad street preacher.
The party and its leader simply no longer have something to say to Zimbabweans, and indeed as a message that defines the party.
In the past, the party used to rally behind the message that “Mugabe must go”.
It was simple and effective — to the extent that it was definitive of the party.
It was a manifesto itself and religious mantra.
Now that message, manifesto and mantra is gone: Mugabe went, was actually removed, from his position as State President.
The opposition, which has always come short in terms of policy and messaging, does not seem to know what to do.
It has no message, no slogan.
Chamisa is stepping into this yawning vacuum.
His unscripted speeches are a function of a core issue — that of a party that cannot evince policy and programmes.
Chamisa has always been inadequate, even as a policy coordinator, some role that Tsvangirai gave him following the congress of 2014, where Chamisa lost the secretary-general post. He has come up with some high- sounding acronyms for some dubious papers that have not amounted to anything.
Just as well, recently he came up with what he called ‘Road to Victory’ document.
Most unfortunately, the acronym he chose, “R2V” sounds indecent in one of the country’s major languages, meaning that no one will want to mention this “2V” in polite company!