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Nelson Chamisa

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Nelson Chamisa
Acting President of the MDC-T,
Assumed office
July 15, 2016
Member of Parliament Kuwadzana East Harare, Zimbabwe
Assumed office
July 31, 2013
Personal details
Born Nelson Chamisa
(1978-02-02) February 2, 1978 (age 40)
Silveira Mission, Masvingo
Political party Movement for Democratic Change - Tsvangirayi (MDC-T)
Spouse(s) Sithokozile Chamisa
Children Ashley Chamisa
Religion Christianity

Nelson Chamisa is a Zimbabwean politician who is currently the Acting President of MDC-T and MDC Alliance. Chamisa is a Member of Parliament of Kuwadzana East in the political party. In 2003, Chamisa broke new ground in the politics of Zimbabwe by becoming the youngest Member of Parliament at age 25. He was also the youngest cabinet Minister in Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity in 2009 when he was appointed Minister of Information and Communication Technology. After Morgan Tsvangirai's death, Chamisa was appointed Acting President and he vowed to win the 2018 elections.


He was born to Alice and Sylvanus Chamisa on February 2, 1978, at Silveira Mission in Masvingo. He is married to Sithokozile and the couple has a son Ashley.[1]


Chamisa is a 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.

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.

Activism and Political Career

Chamisa announced his 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 his activism to the extent that he was elected the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Secretary-General in 1999.[2]

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 rose through the ranks to become MDC organizing secretary in 2011, a position he held until his appointment as VP (MDC-T) on 15 July 2016. During his tenure as Information and Communication Technology minister between 2009 and 2013, ICT products were crossing in the country duty-free.

Loss of Positions in the MDC

During the National Congress held in November 2014, Nelson Chamisa lost two influential opportunities which many political commentators had allegedly 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.[3]

Prior to the elective congress held in Harare at City Sports Centre, Chamisa had won in all the 10 provinces where the preliminaries were held. This raised hopes within the party that Chamisa was heading for a 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.[3] A number of reasons have also been given for Chamisa's loss. Some believed that Chamisa had become vocal against Morgan Tsvangirai' s plans to centralize 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.[3]


After the loss, there was speculation that Chamisa was going to join the so-called 'MDC Renewal Team' led by Welshman Ncube. However, Chamisa broke the silence when he announced that he had no plans to join a political which had left the mainstream party to establish an independent political entity. Soon after his ouster from party politics, Chamisa was appointed a legal practitioner by the High Court of Zimbabwe. [4]

Ouster Rumours

After his ouster as party's Organising Secretary, it was reported that the National Executive of the party was planning to pass a vote of no confidence on Chamisa. It was alleged that Chamisa had plans to unseat a constitutionally elected President of the party; Tsvangirai. It was alleged that Chamisa had partnered other strategic party leaders, especially in the Youth wing to remove Tsvangirai from the Presidency. This came after the controversial elective congress in 2014 which saw Mwonzora taking the position of the Secretary-General which Chamisa was also contesting for. After the planned ouster began to circulate in the local media, the MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu denied the factionalism allegations in the party. He was quoted in the Herald saying,
“It is news to me, I am hearing it for the first time. I am the national spokesperson of the party and I have never heard of anything like that. Hon Chamisa is a valuable member of our party who was recently appointed to run a very crucial portfolio in the National Executive,”.[5]

Appointment as MDC-T Vice Presidenct

In mid-July 2016 Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri were appointed as the party's new Vice Presidents. They joined the party's first Vice-President Thokozani Khupe at a time when Morgan Tsvangirai was diagnosed with cancer.

USA Testimony and 15billion claim

In December of 2017, he was part of the MDC alliance delegation that appeared before a United States Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations in the USA to appraise Americans on the situation in Zimbabwe. After his return, Chamisa reportedly said Donald Trump, the USA president had promised MDC political party $15b if they were to win the 2018 elections. Chamisa told party supporters at a rally in Mutare in January 2018,

When we met with President Trump in America alongside Biti, he asked us how much we needed to move the country forward and we told him that we needed $15 billion. He assured us that the money will be disbursed soon after winning the elections. He told us that he had faith in us because we don’t behave like Zanu PF crooks.

However the US Denied Chamisa’s Claim That Trump Will Unveil $15 Billion If MDC Alliance Wins Elections. After the USA had distanced itself from the statement Chamisa reportedly said he was misquoted by the media.I Was Misquoted, Chamisa Indicated US$15 Billion Claim It was reported that MDC Alliance apologized to the USA for the claim Chamisa had made. Reports had it that Chamisa was not part of the group that went to apologized. [6]

Chamisa further did not let go of the claim that MDC had secured money to assist with the cash flow problems Zimbabwe was facing. Whilst at a rally in Masvingo on 11 February 2018 he was quoted as saying,

Zanu PF has no infrastructure master plan, but we have it. We have already talked about the money that we need for infrastructure rehabilitation for the next three years, $14,9 billion is the money needed and we already have it, and we have assurances. If we disclose the source, people will raise questions about the source, so I will not disclose it.

Clash with Chiwenga in Parliamnent

Chamisa and [Constantino Chiwenga]] clashed in parliament over war veterans welfare. Chamisa reportedly argued that the Vice President was not giving a timeline for the war veterans. Chiwenga reportedly retaliated and indicated that Chamisa should not spend time going to the USA but help build his country. [7]

Race to succeed Tsvangirai

After Tsvangirai was taken to South Arica for medical treatment, it was reported that the late MDC-T leader had appointed Chamisa as the Acting President until he had returned to the country. However, this was not accepted by the other 2 Vice Presidents of the political party Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri.

It was also reported that Elizabeth Macheka, Tsvangirai's wife influenced Tsvangirai's decisions to choose Chamisa. The relatives of Tsvangirai disputed that Chamisa had been appointed as the Acting President. Chamisa replied to their comments indicating that they were not the party and should not involve themselves in party decisions. The MDC Youth League gave the 3 Vice Presidents an ultimatum to solve their differences but this proved futile.

Soon after Tsvangirai's death, the National Council were reported to have appointed Chamisa as the Acting President of MDC-T for 12 months , however, Mudzuri and Khupe did not attend the meeting and continued to conduct separate meetings. Khupe Accused Chamisa of being power hungry as he did not wait for the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai

Factionalism after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai

  • 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.


He has received local as well as international awards for his intellectual prowess.

  1. Best student Practice of marketing IMM Southern Africa
  2. University of Zimbabwe Book prize (twice) Political Science and International Relations
  3. Victors award 2011 outstanding and exemplary leadership
  4. Minister of the year 2011
  5. Voted top 35 of under 35 young people in International Affairs


  • He was the youngest member of Parliament for Kuwadzana Constituency.
  • He was also the youngest cabinet Minister in 2009.


  1. The Truth About Nelson Chamisa
  2. Biography, Nelson Chamisa Official Website, Retrieved: 23 March 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 , Tsvangirai ‘baby dumps’ Chamisa, "Newsday", published:3 Nov 2014, retrieved:14 Nov 2014"
  4. , Mwonzora beats Chamisa to become MDC-T secretary general, "NewZimbabwe", published:2 Nov 2014,retrieved:14 Nov 2014"
  5. L. Mataire, Chamisa Plot Thickens,The Herald, published:01 Jan 2015,retrieved:2 Jan 2015"
  6. [ MDC Alliance Apologises To US Govt Over Nelson Chamisa’s US$15 Billion Claim ], , Published: 4 February 2018 , Retrieved: 16 February 2018
  7. General Chiwenga, Nelson Chamisa Clash In Parliament Over War Veterans’ Welfare , , Published: 24 January 2018, Retrieved: 16 February 2018