Nelson Chamisa Biography
Nelson Chamisa is a Zimbabwean politician and church pastor who is currently the President of MDC Alliance and member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe for Kuwadzana, Harare. He is a former national youth chairperson for the same party as well as the Secretary for Information and Publicity for the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
In 2003, Chamisa broke new ground in the politics of Zimbabwe by becoming the youngest Member of Parliament at the age of 25. He was also the youngest cabinet Minister in Zimbabwe’s Government of National Unity in 2009.
Nelson Chamisa Family
He was born to Alice and Sylvanus Chamisa on February 2, 1978 at Silveira Mission in Fort Victoria, Rhodesia (now Masvingo, Zimbabwe).
Nelson Chamisa Wife
He is married to Sithokozile and the couple has a son by the name, Ashley. She is a Zimbabwean legal professional and is famously known for being the wife of current MDC-T president and MDC Alliance presidential candidate for the 2018 elections, Nelson Chamisa. She was first introduced to party supporters in May 2018 at a rally. Chamisa said that unlike other politicians, his family had chosen that Sithokozile stays away from the limelight, instead focusing on their personal family lives.
Nelson Chamisa Political Career
He is an advocate and political activist whose life began in the small town of Masvingo in 1978. While young, Nelson began what would become a lifetime journey of servant leadership as a student at Harare Polytechnic and University of Zimbabwe where he was a part of the Student Representative Council at a time when student rights were suppressed.
His defiance to these abuses of power and misgovernment got him dismissed from college but 1998 marked the beginning of a new era. He was later elected Secretary General of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU). Together with his colleagues, they transformed the administration and politics of student activism by setting up union offices across the country thereby radicalising their approach to student representation.
These trenches of student leadership became a foundation that led to Nelson Chamisa becoming Zimbabwe’s youngest Member of Parliament at 25. He later on broke another record by becoming Zimbabwe’s youngest Minister in the very successful Government of National Unity.
Chamisa experienced tremendous political success at Zimbabwe’s main Opposition Party, The Movement for Democratic Change. He rose through the ranks as National Youth Chairperson, Secretary General, Vice President and now he is the current Party leader following the tragic passing of his mentor and leader Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.
He also studied Law at the University of Zimbabwe. He graduated with a Degree in Theology from Living Waters Bible College, an institution founded by the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe.
Chamisa announced his grand entry into politics during his college days when he was appointed Harare Polytechnic Student Representative Council (SRC) president in his first year in 1998. The college authorities took notice of his presence and suspended him for allegedly inciting violence in Chegutu. He was only re-admitted after a high court ruling. This however, did not dissuade him but fueled the embers of his activism to the extent that he was elected the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Secretary General in 1999.
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It is this background that saw him voted the MDC national youth chairman between 2000 and 2006. He was voted Kuwadzana member of parliament in 2003 through a by election becoming the youngest MP at 25. His brevity and outspokenness won the hearts of the MDC leading to his appointment as the party’s spokesperson in 2005. He has rose through the ranks to become MDC organizing secretary in 2011, a position he still holds. During his tenure as Information and Communication Technology minister between 2009 and 2013, ICT products were crossing in the country duty free.
During the national congress held in November 2014, Nelson Chamisa lost two influential opportunities which many political commentators had tipped him to win. He was reduced to an ordinary card carrying member. First, Chamisa lost the position of the Organising Secretary which had made him famous and influential in the party. He had held the position for a number of years and was at the helm of activity during the days of the government of national Unity from 2008 to 2013.
Prior to the elective congress held in Harare at City Sports Centre, Chamisa had won in all the 10 provinces were the preliminaries were held. This raised hopes within the party that Chamisa was heading for a landslide victory. Tempers were already set as the Nelson Chamisa supporters indicated that Chamisa was already in charge as the Secretary General of the Party. However, considering how Chamisa eventually lost the elections, there was widespread speculation that there was serious vote buying in the initial elections which saw his victory. Vote buying however could not be entertained during the national elective congress and this subsequently resulted in his defeat.
The election results were as follows; Douglas Mwonzora garnered 2 464 votes against Chamisa’s 1 756. A number of reasons have also been given for Chamisa’s loss. Some believe that Chamisa had become vocal against Morgan Tsvangirai’s plans to centralise power. Thus there was a conspiracy between Morgan Tsvangirai and Mwonzora and other senior party members to discard young Chamisa from the front-line. On the contrary, Mwonzora who was contesting against Chamisa was accused of boot-licking in order the support of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Political Life after Morgan Tsvangirai’s Death
- Chamisa was appointed acting president as Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe were in South Africa where they are engaged in coalition talks with other opposition parties.
- MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe contested Morgan Tsvangirai’s appointment of Nelson Chamisa as the party’s acting president saying that it is unconstitutional
- Obert Gutu dismissed Nelson Chamisa’s appointment as the party’s acting president taking over from Elias Mudzuri.
- Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa all claimed to be the rightful acting president in the absence of veteran party leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was undergoing treatment in South Africa.
- Morgan Tsvangirai’s family broke its silence over the succession race in the MDC-T. They dismissed Luke Tamborinyoka’s statement appointing Nelson Chamisa as MDC-T acting president until their father’s return from South Africa where he was receiving treatment for colon cancer.
- MDC-T deputy president Elias Mudzuri (EM) said his colleague Nelson Chamisa lied that he spoke to ailing leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was in South Africa receiving treatment.
- MDC-T Deputy Nelson Chamisa insisted that he was appointed the party’s acting president by ailing leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was in South Africa where he was receiving treatment.
- Chamisa said that while he respected the Tsvangirais, the family was not the party and was not privy to internal party communication.
- MDC-T youth Chairperson Happymore Chidziva gave the opposition party’s two Vice Presidents Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri 48 hours to deal with the factional fights that threatened to derail the party’s election campaign.
- The party’s co-vice presidents Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe boycotted a standing committee meeting convened by Nelson Chamisa. The party’s national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo also boycotted the meeting.
- Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa called for separate meetings at two different locations. At a time when many it was expected that the two would be united as they mourned their former principal, Morgan Tsvangirai.
- Chamisa was appointed as the Acting President by the party’s national council although the two other vice presidents did not attend the meeting. Chamisa claimed that Mudzuri did not attend the meeting despite being notified while Khupe was still on her way to Harare.
- MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe accused her counterpart Nelson Chamisa of being power hungry and staging a coup.
- Lydia Tsvangirai, the mother of the late former Prime Minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai declared that she did not want to see her son’s widow Elizabeth Macheka and MDC-T Acting President Nelson Chamisa at her son’s burial.
- MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said that his party violated its own constitution by electing Nelson Chamisa as the acting president of the party, a day after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai.
- According to Welshman Ncube, Tsvangirai chose Chamisa to take over from him after his eventual death.
- The late Morgan Tsvangirai’s youngest son Richard endorsed MDC-T acting president Nelson Chamisa as the successor to his father.
Nelson Chamisa Education
Chamisa is a proud holder of the following degrees:
- BBA Marketing Degree IMM, SA.
- BSc Honors Political Science, Zimbabwe.
- Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy, Zimbabwe.
- Governance and Development studies, Stanford University in California, USA.
Nelson Chamisa Awards
He has received local as well as international awards for his intellect prowess.
- Best student Practice of marketing IMM Southern Africa
- University of Zimbabwe Book prize (twice) Political Science and International Relations
- Victors award 2011 outstanding and exemplary leadership
- Minister of the year 2011
- Voted top 35 of under 35 young people in International Affairs
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Chamisa files petition challenging Mnangagwa’s poll win
August 8th, 2018 | The EastAfrican
Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has filed a petition challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s July 30 election victory.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader alleges electoral fraud and other malpractices during the historic polls, the first to held without former ruler Robert Mugabe.
MDC lawyer Thabani Mpofu said on Wednesday that the party had assembled a strong legal team to face off with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
“We are working with a huge team of local lawyers and internationally recognised constitutional lawyers on this petition,” he told journalists in Harare.
The opposition also accuses the army of launching a crackdown against its leadership and supporters in a bid to stop the court challenge.
“My team is being harassed but we do not fear them and we are happy to address the Constitutional Court whilst on death beds and in prison,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday police arrested senior MDC official Tendai Biti at the border as he tried to flee to Zambia. Mr Biti had claimed victory for the party prior to ZEC’s announcement of the presidential results, sparking protests which turned bloody when military opened fire, leaving six people dead.
On August 3, President Mnangagwa was declared winner of the elections with 50.8 per cent of the total votes cast to Mr Chamisa’s 44.3 per cent.
But Mr Chamisa dismissed the outcome terming it “unverified fake results.”
Mr Mpofu said his team has sufficient evidence to reverse the outcome of the polls.
“The evidence is not only overwhelming, it’s also embarrassing (against ZEC),” he added.
The ruling party Zanu-PF said it has picked a team of 12 lawyers for the case filed by Mr Chamisa.
Under Zimbabwe’s electoral laws, the Constitutional Court must hear and conclude the election petition within 14 days.
President Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe after he was ousted last November, will have to wait for the verdict of the court to know whether he will be sworn-in or not.
His inauguration had been scheduled for August 12.