By Luke Tamborinyoka
IT all began two years ago when President Morgan Tsvangirai appointed a then 38-year-old Adv. Nelson Chamisa as one his two additional Vice Presidents following his diagnosis with cancer of the colon on 27 June 2016, which appointment signified a novel moment in the politics of a young country long used to gerontocracy or simply rule by old people.
From that day in August 2016, President Tsvangirai showed he was a modern leader alive to the dictates of 21st century politics in which the youth are not the leaders of tomorrow but are the leaders of today.
Since then, Adv. Nelson Chamisa has become more than just a persona. He has infused an epic moment of generational re-invigoration that has reverberated well beyond the narrow precincts of the MDC-T and the MDC Alliance.
Those of us who shared intimate discussions with president Tsvangirai and were privileged to sanctioned forays into his thinking knew the exact message he was sending to the world. It was not just a message about his succession preferences but a harbinger of younger things to come; a sonorous pronouncement of a new political moment that would excite a hitherto unnoticed generation and the nation at large.
From the outset, it was never about Chamisa the physical being, even though it was Chamisa the person who had reaped the huge advantage for having been the loyal and obedient pupil who traversed a long and arduous journey with the iconic political tutor since 1999.Indeed, it was never about Chamisa the protégé to the iconic political master.
It has always been about the moment.
Chamisa the person may have been the direct beneficiary of that mammoth gesture of being appointed into the cockpit and his subsequent overwhelming anointment as leader by the legitimate organs of the party. But it is Chamisa the moment that has always been the more profound message.
True, there is a causal relationship between Chamisa the person and Chamisa the moment because the latter is a direct consequence of … and a derivative from … the former. Yet it is the moment … and not the person … that appears to have struck both massive resonance and untold trepidation into the hearts of friend and foe respectively.
The Chamisa moment represents an ostentatious generational entrance into the grand leadership politics of the country. It represents newness, energy, freshness, transformation, opportunity and prosperity. Chamisa the moment is the true acme of youthful enthusiasm and dynamism. As a political epoch it represents a ground zero moment … in simple terms a fresh and innocent start.
While Chamisa the person is mortal and has frailties like all of us, Chamisa the moment exudes pure virtue and innocence. The moment represents a generational honesty and chastity incapable of sin and transgression. Because Chamisa the moment exists in an intellectual sense of abstraction, it is an epitome of purity untainted by the mortal tinge of human fallibility. It is clear that Chamisa the moment is bigger and more phenomenal than Chamisa the person.
Zimbabweans across the political and generational divide appear to be appreciating the Chamisa moment that has engulfed the country. Yet some have had the temerity to call it a cyclone! His personal attributes of eloquence, oratory and erudite articulation of issues notwithstanding, it is Chamisa the moment that has taken the country by storm.
In fact, this treatise will argue that Chamisa the person, as a mortal being, should be wary of being an impediment to Chamisa the moment. In short, the person must be careful not to turn out to be a burden or a needless irritation to the enormity of the moment! The good news is that, so far, he has traversed this potentially dangerous terrain with unparalleled dexterity!
Those close to him may not know that being close to him is not synonymous with being in the proximity of the moment. That the whole nation has fallen friends with the moment is now preposterous. Chamisa the person is rational and calculating and his political decisions may stand in the way of the political tsunami that Chamisa the moment has become.
The decisions Chamisa the person takes may stand in the way of the sweeping Chamisa moment, much to the detriment of the freshness that Zimbabweans have so readily welcomed!
Yet so far, Chamisa the person has managed to enhance … and not impede … Chamisa the moment. He appears to fully appreciate the enormity of the political dividend that the moment, through the person, will bequeath to Zimbabwe!
The demographic realities of the national voting population as revealed by ZEC go a long way in explaining why the Chamisa cyclone has swept across the country with reckless abandon. A large chunk of the registered voters is between the ages 18 and 40 and they identify more with the youthful MDC Alliance presidential candidate. They have fallen in love with the moment. There appears to be a generational consensus in this regard!
Yet, as he has shown at rallies he has addressed in the last few weeks, he also has a message for the old and the infirm. He has assured all Zimbabweans over the age of 65 that his government will ensure that they are treated for free. They will also be allowed to use public transport for free, which efficient public transport system will be introduced by the incoming government.
Like the luminary and visionary that he was, President Morgan Tsvangirai had this giraffe anointing of peering into the political realities that lay ahead. On 3 August 2016, in a speech to the national council following his appointment of Chamisa as Vice President, the doyen of democracy said:
“I took into consideration the fact that my visits across the country have revealed that the party has lost young voters, whether consciously or unconsciously. I had to respond to that key constituency which now constitutes about 60 percent of the country’s voting population. I had to project the MDC as a modern, 21st century political party.”
President Tsvangirai had long seen the political dividend of Chamisa the moment which Chamisa the person may today, by acts of omission or commission, choose to either enhance or undermine. Indeed, to enrich or impede the moment, that is my new boss’ choice!
As English playwright William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet all those centuries ago:
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Yes, Moyondizvo, the choice to either retard or enrich the moment is entirely yours! So far, the country remains engulfed in the politics of Chamisa the moment with its imminent prospects of bringing positive change in the lives of the people.
Yes, behold the new!
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications in the MDC-T led by Hon. Advocate Nelson Chamisa. He writes here as an ardent scholar of Political Science.