In Summary
  • Formed in 1999, following a conference of labour, church and civic society and students groups with trade unionist Tsvangirai as founding leader, the MDC is the largest opposition party the country has known since independence in 1980.
  • The movement is likely to elect Mr Chamisa unopposed, boosting a party plagued by infighting since Tsvangirai's death and battered by an election defeat.
  • Zimbabwe's economy, which the 76-year-old Mnangagwa has vowed to revive, is once more an explosive issue, with shortages of fuel, a cash crunch and rising inflation.
  • But whether the youthful Chamisa can appeal to a broader audience as this crisis unfolds is unclear.

GWERU,

Zimbabwe's main opposition this weekend is expected to elect Nelson Chamisa as its next president in its first congress since the death of its revered founder, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is likely to elect Mr Chamisa unopposed, boosting a party plagued by infighting since Mr Tsvangirai's death and battered by an election defeat.

Mr Tsvangirai appointed Mr Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as party co-vice presidents before succumbing to colon cancer in February 2018.

LOST BALLOT

Mr Chamisa, 41, then took the party helm, becoming its champion in the first presidential elections since the authoritarian Robert Mugabe was ousted.

He lost the historic ballot to incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, an outcome that he says was rigged.

"We are going to get a new leader, Nelson Chamisa," party spokesman Jacob Mafume told AFP, a prediction that analysts agree seems sure.

"I think Nelson Chamisa will be elected to continue as the MDC president," said Gideon Chitanga of Johannesburg-based think tank, Political Economy Southern Africa.

After the blow of July's election loss, Mr Chamisa may have the political winds behind him as the new MDC chief.

ECONOMY

Zimbabwe's economy, which the 76-year-old Mnangagwa has vowed to revive, is once more an explosive issue, with shortages of fuel, a cash crunch and rising inflation.

But whether the youthful Chamisa can appeal to a broader audience as this crisis unfolds is unclear.

Page 1 of 2