Chamisa's Byo rally divides opinion

HARARE - MDC president Nelson Chamisa’s massively attended Bulawayo rally has divided opinion, with some saying the crowds were bussed.

Last Saturday, Chamisa invaded his rival Thokozani Khupe’s homeground, and apparently demystified the myth that she is the province’s political godmother.

While Chamisa has been addressing huge crowds across the country, his critics expected his bubble would finally burst in Bulawayo.

The 40-year-old came to power in acrimonious circumstances following the death of the party’s founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer in February.

He was locked in a succession battle with Khupe, who disputed his ascendancy resulting in her being fired from her position as deputy party president, along with her allies Abednico Bhebhe, who was the organising secretary, and Obert Gutu, the party’s spokesperson.

Khupe and her allies responded by digging in insisting that they were the legitimate MDC — effectively declaring a split — the third since the MDC’s formation in 1999.

This came amid debate over Khupe’s influence of the party’s Matabeleland structures, with some saying her expulsion would see her moving away with “her people,” dealing Chamisa a huge blow.

Gutu, however, dismissed the numbers at the MDC Alliance rally, saying Chamisa had smuggled supporters into Bulawayo from other provinces.

“$50 000 spent on bussing people to Bulawayo. We pursue real politics not self-delusion and self-deception. Results of the election 2018 will confirm who the fake are and who the real politicians are,” he said.

On his part, however, Norton Independent Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa felt that the huge crowd in Bulawayo and the free-ness of MDC Alliance’s campaign was a sign that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was genuine in his wish to provide free and fair elections.

Chamisa, who is riding on the wave on the theme of Generational Consensus movement, was evidently buoyant, taking to Twitter to show his appreciation.

“Together we will fix it. Wherever we go and are going, be it rural or urban I am so humbled by the overwhelming and unprecedented support we are receiving as the incoming administration. We are winning because #Godisinit,” Chamisa said.

On the other hand, acting MDC spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo felt that the huge turn-out had far reaching effects on the party’s confidence as “we had to prove a point”.

“I may not want to say that we were out to make a statement but the attendance obviously proved a point that as MDC we are a people driven party and in terms of what problems if ever there were any, Bulawayo spoke at the weekend and it spoke loudly and clearly,” Khumalo said buoyantly.

“It is now up to Khupe to make a choice to remain arrogant or swallow pride and accept the reality that Bulawayo has endorsed president Chamisa.

“Parties are voluntary organisations, however, so she has a right to engage or disengage,” she added.

Speaking of the rally, Alex Magaisa, a Kent University law lecturer as well as the late Tsvangirai’s former advisor, said Zanu PF had been shocked and that had already slid back into its default mode.

“Old habits die hard. (Deposed former president Robert) Mugabe may be gone but the system is intact. The system is reluctant to show the strength of the opponent. And they are busy telling the world they will deliver a free and fair election. It’s a facade. Sadly, some in the international community have bought it,” Magaisa reacted on his Twitter account.

He said of the rally attendance; “the spirit of change is truly upon us in #Zimbabwe”, adding that people who turned up for the rallying were a sign that they had suffered for far too long.

Meanwhile, Khumalo revealed that Khupe will soon be replaced as the party was keen on maintaining three deputies to Chamisa “because it was a congress resolution that the party must have three deputies so  I don’t see us departing from that but it is the prerogative of the president to appoint whenever he sees fit”.

This comes as MDC insiders say Chamisa wants to either appoint Khumalo as Khupe’s replacement or rope in former secretary-general Welshman Ncube, who leads the smaller MDC, which is a member of the MDC Alliance.

Responding to the claims, Khumalo said “if you remember, at our congress in 2014 it was resolved that we work for a big tent and national convergence to bring us together so it is entirely up to the principals of the MDC Alliance and the executives of their respective parties to come up with such an arrangement”.

Comments (11)

So assuming $30 for a trip that translates to less than 25 buses and a mere 1500 or so people. That theory of bussing has been debunked.

Moe Syslack - 9 April 2018

just show the buses to substantiate the claim! we all know who succeeds in the habit of bussing in pple & obviously its not mdc

SaManyika Chaiye - 9 April 2018

The cost to hire a bus from Harare to Bulawayo and back (approx. 1000km) is approx. US$1000...That's 50 buses each with at least 50-60 people on board...2.5-3000 people and some estimates say there were 5500 people at the rally? Nuff Said

Wezhira - 9 April 2018

Buses or no buses or no buses it does not matter at all. I listened to his speech and was left asking the proverbial question, "where is the beef?" Where is the substance in between the Chisa slogan? For example how do you talk of building an 8 lane freeway before you can repair the existing roads or starting with at 4 lane dual system? Chamisa seems to be a reckless G40 who is not concerned about reality. You have to learn to crawl before you can walk.

Order - 9 April 2018

People can talk nonsense about Chamisa , that is fine and as it is their opinion in this democratic world . Chamisa cannot talk about existing roads which were built by Ian Smith and his government and which ZANU PF have failed to maintain and improve but he is correct to talk about bullet trains and building 8 lane highways/freeways and that is very possible , Zimbabwe have got all sort of resources to generate required funds , Beitbridge board post is generating millions of dollars which should be used appropriate in funding road developments projects initially with Beitbridge to Bulawayo freeway as it the main road at that province .

Khalabemgeza - 10 April 2018

vanhu can hate the young man for having a big vision for Zimbut if one doesn't have a vision the people perish the bible says. We can't put back the very same people who let the robots, the roads everything get messed up to begin with. ana mnangagwa where there in govt yet vaidya vakanyarara no one dared to even resign in protest. Now makuda kutiudza zvekuti Chamisa bussed people zvinoudzwa vanhu vekuUzumba izvozvo how do you bus 40000 people where are the pictures of the buses. Propaganda haichashande taneta neZanu tired tired they must go. We deserve better mhani

doc - 10 April 2018

Ah Magaisa you forget so quickly. You have already forgotten your so-called 'Cross Over Rally' at Rotten Raw? That's why you ended up in hospital. You want to go back to hospital again? Zanu is busy holding polling station level meetings while Khamisa is busy hiring buses. Come result announcement you cry.

Marufu Chihwandire - 10 April 2018

I am not an MDC nor, ZANU PF nor any other third party die-hard for that matter but Ngwena or Mujuru seem the better options now after having a brush with Mugabe,I suspect he or Mujuru teams have grown more wise,tactical,capitalizing on the perceived Mugabe mistakes& they have grown more experienced to give us the best options; now that both have turned their backs on Mugabe's previous methods. Plz note previously they were only followers-what shaped the status core is not their product.We can't take Chamisa bec what he proffers seem to b no solutions for Zimbabwe;we can not b fooled by age OR the sense of having a new person -that is fantastic,he is actually waffling & totally not basing his arguments on reality.It seems he does not understand the works of large finances hence proffering dreams

addmore gudo - 10 April 2018

Chamisa is actually proffering illusive dreams which seem no solutions at all,but Ngwena seem more wiser now & practical,lets try Chamisa next time;he is still an apprentice ;amateurism might cost our nation the Mugabe way;lets us not b captured by fantasy,we want practical solutions.If Ngwena or Mujuru fails in one term;we can all campaign for their removal.Our economy can not invest in bullet trains bec first, does not have the capacity & sec, they are not a priority now,we go first for the basics-hospital bills,roads,resuscitating our industries first to employ which is an uphill battle on its own which Chamisa's possible terms in office might still not achieve;since we are not guaranted the much talked foreign investors hav n real interest in zim market-the luxuary of bullet trains is far fetched.We must take note that now both have turned their backs on Mugabe's former methods & that we are all going the same direction

addmore gudo - 10 April 2018

Glad to hear from you again addmore gudo. Greetings! I am also neither MDC Alliance, Zanu PF or the other 116 parties on ZEC voters' roll, I am a Zimbabwean wanting better lives for Zimbabweans, future generations and my family. Objectively Chamisa nad Mnangagwa are in a race, Mnangagwa is gaining traction with a simple message of peace, unity, rebuilding the economy and correcting the mess his predecessor, Mugabe, had created for 37 years. Chamisa, with his youthful exuberance, is losing credibility with his unsubstantiated grandiose promises ($15 billion investment package by Trump's govt which the US Embassy shot down as wishful thinking, bullet trains, 8 lane roads, a civil service that rewards its employees more than the private sector,.....) Potentially Chamisa could become a leader of note. Currently he lacks leadership qualities of wisdom, discernment, tact. Charisma will not take you far in the 21st Century. It worked well for Mugabe and others in the 60s and 70s - then all we need was a leader with the gift of gab to inspire others to fight for liberation. Not all people older than you are fools or like Mugabe, Chamisa. And most of your "so called investors and friends from the west" are in their 60s, 70s and 80s!!!!!!!! The wisdom and experience of old age and youthful exuberance and energy can merge into a powerful force in rebuilding Zimbabwe. A legacy is generational. Zimbabweans want food on the table and jobs. Make them dream bigger, have security for the future, the ability to decide that future, build and lay foundations for that future - to have a quality life. ARTICULATE THE ZIMBABWEAN VISION, EQUIP AND EMPOWER PEOPLE TO OWN AND PARTICIPATE IN THAT VISION, not just criticise.

Daniel 5 - 12 April 2018

Thanks Dan. I agree with you.

Chifamba - 12 April 2018

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