Amidst all the claims and counter-claims, the conflicting reports and the fake news, one fact is now indisputable. We don’t know if Chamisa ever met Mugabe in Dubai. Or if Mugabe is funding him or not. Or even if he will have to forfeit the $1.8 million in state funding. But we do know one thing. Nelson Chamisa lost. Badly.
For months, he has been telling his supporters that he is the rightful leader of the MDC-T. He has been promising them that the courts would support his claim, hereby clearing up this issue once and for all. His certainty that he is in the right – and therefore that Dr. Khupe is in the wrong – has led to him turning a blind eye to his supporters’ vicious and often violent abuse of Khupe and her supporters.
As we have been told time and again by Chamisa supporters, all was justified because justice was on Chamisa’s side.
But on Monday this over-confidence (arrogance?) turned out to be a ruse. Like a powerful tycoon suing a pauper, Chamisa was hoping that his bluster and swagger would force his opponents to back down.
But once they refused to back down, this was all revealed to be bluster. Cover for the fact that he had no case. A particularly poignant case of the emperor’s new clothes, when in reality, there were none.
For when Khupe and her team called Chamisa’s bluff, it was he who was forced to stand down, announcing that he had given up his proceedings against Khupe. Effectively, Chamisa conceded that Thokozani Khupe is the leader of the MDC-T, and the rightful heiress to Morgan Tsvangirai.
A more mature and experienced – and less headstrong – politician would have seen this coming and found a solution. Chamisa didn’t need to go head to head with Khupe on this. He didn’t need to go all in.
But that is what a lack of nous and leadership gets you. Chamisa bet the house on winning this case and he lost big. He staked his reputation and credibility on it, and both have taken a hit.
Only time will tell if this defeat is terminal, and whether Chamisa’s reputation and support base will ever be able to recover from this blow.
But one thing it has clearly revealed is that Chamisa’s judgement is severely lacking. And if his judgement is so off on this case, how can he be trusted to make the right decision in matters of state.
Maybe Chamisa will mature and become a better leader in time. Maybe in five years. Maybe in ten. Or maybe he just doesn’t have what it takes.
But one thing is for sure. His self-inflicted defeat in this case has shown that today, Nelson Chamisa does not have the leadership or judgement to be president.