No honour among thieves Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti are in the middle of a political fight which is threatening to break their union and coalition apart

Prosperity Mzila

The idiom that there is “no honour among thieves” holds true in the case of the recently dethroned CCC Harare East legislator, Tendai Biti and the CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa.

The two opposition politicians in Zimbabwe were once allies in the CCC, but their relationship has since deteriorated, exposing the lack of integrity and loyalty in that party’s politics.

Biti should have slept with one eye open or not slept at all, because after all, he should have known that one day the tables would turn against him and he would find himself under the bus.

And, indeed, this is what has happened.

Chamisa has thrown Biti under the bus in favour of Allan “Rusty” Markham, to represent Harare East constituency in the upcoming elections, which is proof that a leopard will never change its spots.

At the present moment, Biti’s political world has been shattered and he has been thrown into political oblivion by a leader that he trusted.

The rift between Biti and Chamisa began when Chamisa did an internal coup to get the leadership of the MDC-Alliance after the death of its founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018.

Although Biti was still outside the party, having formed the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he was reportedly one of the contenders for the leadership of MDC-Alliance.

His loss was a blow to his ego and political ambitions.

He accused Chamisa of being power-hungry and lacking the leadership skills to steer the party to victory in the forthcoming elections.

The fallout between Biti and Chamisa highlights the lack of unity and cohesion in the opposition party, which has been its major hindrance in its quest to unseat the ruling party, Zanu PF.

It also exposes the Machiavellian tactics used by Chamisa to gain and retain power, even if it means betraying his former allies.

Chamisa is now accusing Biti of being desperate to get into Government to steal from its coffers.

On social media, Chamisa is heard in an audio seemingly rebuking Biti.

“Unotumwa kunoshandira nyika haanetseki kunzi itai payende mumwe, vanoda kuba ndivo vanotsamwa aaah ndashaya mukana wekunonokora nekukokota gapu renyika . . . Ungagumbuka zvazvemumba here, ndezveruzhinji, ndezvekutumwa, ungatsamwe kuti hauna kutumwa . . ?” said Chamisa.

The lack of honour among thieves is not a new phenomenon in the opposition politics.

It is a recurring theme dating back to the early founding years of MDC, where politicians from the opposition splintered that party into numerous parties as they changed allegiances and alliances at the drop of a hat, depending on their own interests.

The party ended up with numerous offshoots like MDC-99-Sikhala, MDC-Tsvangirai, MDC-Mutambara, MDC-Ncube, MDC-Alliance, MDC-Chamisa, MDC-Khupe, MDC Renewal, PDP and the CCC that splintered from MDC-T.

The fissures that are currently obtaining between Biti and Chamisa are not just personal squabbles.

They have wider implications for the CCC fortunes, especially now that the country is about to hold its harmonised general elections.

It is an obvious assumption that the CCC is in a weaker position to face Zanu PF in the upcoming polls.

It is true that Zimbabweans need leaders who are willing to make sacrifices and put the country’s interests first, instead of their own personal gains.

This trait can only be found in Zanu PF, where President Mnangagwa has set an example by putting aside his own personal feelings to stretch an olive branch to all opposition political parties to work together with the ruling party to rebuild a greater and more prosperous Zimbabwe.

This birthed the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), which Chamisa snubbed.

The CCC leadership needs a complete overhaul, starting with an end to the culture of betrayal and self-interest that has plagued that party for decades.

Recently, Chamisa and the rest of that party leadership sacrificed Job Sikhala and at the time it was happening, Biti did not lift a finger or voice to represent Sikhala even though he claims to be a prominent lawyer.

Sikhala’s promised Zengeza West seat was strategically handed over to Innocent Zvaipa, one of Chamisa’s cronies.

The annihilation of both Sikhala and Biti from the political arena was meant to rid that party of vocal and dissenting voices while consolidating his power within that party.

Biti never kept the eye on the ball.

He relaxed and concluded that because of his Oxford connections, Chamisa would always be in his pocket, and that is how he lost the game.

Meanwhile, Chamisa did not for a single minute stop consolidating his power within that party.

After he illegally snatched the leadership reigns of that party, he swore to never let them slip through his fingers.

Hence, even as they plotted and called for the tightening of sanctions on Zimbabwe, Chamisa always kept one step ahead of Biti bearing in mind that Biti was his biggest opponent and not Zanu PF.

Today, Biti is angry and frustrated at the betrayal at party level, forgetting that his collusion with Chamisa is what led to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe to this day.

This strike by Chamisa should be Biti’s moment of atonement for making the people of Zimbabwe suffer through unnecessary sanctions.

It is gloves off at the CCC party as Biti declares his interests to stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming elections.

This is an angry slap across Chamisa’s face as it presents a challenge to him by splitting the CCC votes, further weakening that party’s standing against Zanu PF.

It is, therefore, safe to say the cat is out of the bag.

Biti has always disputed the lack of democracy in that party which failed to create an opportunity to contest for the presidential seat within the CCC through an elective congress or through primary elections.

Chamisa’s meddling in Harare East has given Biti an opportunity to run as an independent, however, banking on the support that he commands within the CCC.

Truly there is no honour among thieves.

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