Zimbabwe Profiles Local,People Nelson Chamisa Biography: Early Life | Education | Political Career | CCC | Personal Life

Nelson Chamisa Biography: Early Life | Education | Political Career | CCC | Personal Life

Nelson Chamisa Biography: Early Life | Education | Political Career | CCC | Personal Life post thumbnail image

Nelson Chamisa Biography: Early Life | Education | Political Career | CCC | Personal Life

Nelson Chamisa is a Zimbabwean politician, lawyer, pastor, and activist who is currently the president of the Citizens Coalition for Change, a new political party that he founded in 2022.

He is also the former leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A). He has been a prominent figure in Zimbabwean politics since he became the youngest member of parliament at the age of 25 in 2003. He has also served as a cabinet minister, a party spokesperson, an organising secretary, and a presidential candidate. He is known for his charisma, eloquence, vision, and courage in challenging the ruling party and advocating for democratic reforms.

 

Early Life and Education

 

Nelson Chamisa Biography

Nelson Chamisa Biography [Image: Nelson Chamisa/Facebook]

 

Nelson Chamisa was born on 2 February 1978 in Fort Victoria, Rhodesia (now Masvingo, Zimbabwe) to Sylvanus and Alice Chamisa. He grew up in Gutu, Masvingo, where he attended Alheit High School. He was nicknamed “Mhepo” meaning “Wind” due to his athletic ability.

He later moved to Harare, where he studied at Harare Polytechnic and the University of Zimbabwe. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and public administration. He also obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from the same university and became a qualified lawyer. He further pursued a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investment law.

Chamisa also has a theological background, as he holds a Pentecostal theology degree from Living Waters Theological Seminary of Harare. He is a pastor and a member of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe.

 

Nelson Chamisa Political Career

 

Nelson Chamisa Biography

Nelson Chamisa Biography [Image: Nelson Chamisa/Facebook]

 

Chamisa’s interest in politics began when he was a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe. He was the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), an umbrella body of student unions that campaigned for academic freedom and social justice. He also joined the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a new opposition party that was formed in 1999 to challenge the ruling ZANU-PF party led by Robert Mugabe.

In 2000, Chamisa contested for the Kuwadzana parliamentary seat in Harare but lost to ZANU-PF’s David Mutasa. However, he successfully challenged the result in court and won a by-election in 2003, becoming the youngest member of parliament at the age of 25. He was also elected as the chairperson of the MDC Youth Assembly, a position he held until 2006.

In 2005, the MDC split into two factions over whether to participate in the senate elections. Chamisa sided with Morgan Tsvangirai, the party president, who opposed the elections. The other faction was led by Arthur Mutambara, who supported the elections. Chamisa became the spokesperson of the MDC-Tsvangirai faction (MDC-T), while Mutambara became the president of the MDC-Mutambara faction (MDC-M).

In 2008, Chamisa retained his Kuwadzana seat in the parliamentary elections. He also played a key role in Tsvangirai’s presidential campaign, which saw him win more votes than Mugabe in the first round, but fall short of an outright majority. A run-off was scheduled for June 2008, but Tsvangirai withdrew citing violence and intimidation by ZANU-PF supporters and security forces. Mugabe was declared the winner by default.

 

Nelson Chamisa in The GNU

After months of negotiations, a power-sharing agreement was reached between Tsvangirai and Mugabe in September 2008. The agreement created a Government of National Unity (GNU), with Tsvangirai as the prime minister and Mugabe as the president.

Chamisa was appointed as the Minister of Information Communication Technology in February 2009, becoming the youngest cabinet minister at the age of 31. He served in this capacity until July 2013, when the GNU ended after another disputed election that saw Mugabe win with over 60% of the vote.

In 2011, Chamisa was elected as the organising secretary of the MDC-T at its congress in Bulawayo. He replaced Elias Mudzuri, who had been accused of incompetence and sabotage by some party members. Chamisa was tasked with mobilising support and strengthening structures for the party ahead of the 2013 elections.

 

Post-2013 Election

 

Nelson Chamisa Biography

Nelson Chamisa Biography [Image: Nelson Chamisa/Facebook]

 

In 2014, another split occurred within the MDC-T after Tsvangirai refused to step down as the party leader following the 2013 election defeat. Some senior party officials, including Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma, formed a breakaway faction called the MDC Renewal Team. Chamisa remained loyal to Tsvangirai and was appointed as one of his three deputies in 2016.

 

Morgan Tsvangirai’s Death And Tumult In The MDC-T

In 2018, Tsvangirai died after a long battle with cancer. Chamisa was appointed as the acting president of the MDC-T by the party’s national council, a move that was contested by another deputy, Thokozani Khupe, who claimed to be the legitimate successor. A leadership dispute ensued, with both Chamisa and Khupe claiming to be the rightful presidents of the MDC-T and using the party name and symbols.

 

Nelson Chamisa In The 2018 Elections

Chamisa also became the leader of the MDC-A, a coalition of seven opposition parties that had been formed in 2017 to challenge ZANU-PF in the 2018 elections. He was endorsed as the coalition’s presidential candidate, including Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Welshman Ncube’s MDC-N. He faced off against Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had replaced Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe after a military coup in November 2017.

The 2018 elections were marred by allegations of irregularities, violence, and intimidation. Chamisa claimed to have won the presidential vote with 60% of the vote, but the official results showed that he had received 44.3%, while Mnangagwa had received 50.8%, narrowly avoiding a run-off. Chamisa challenged the results in court, but his petition was dismissed by the Constitutional Court for lack of evidence.

Chamisa refused to accept the court ruling and continued to insist that he was the legitimate president of Zimbabwe. He called for dialogue and reforms to resolve the political and economic crisis in the country. He also faced resistance from Khupe, who had registered her own MDC-T party and contested in the 2018 elections.

 

2020 MDC-T Court Ruling And CCC Formation

In March 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that Chamisa’s ascension to the presidency of the MDC-T was illegal and ordered a fresh congress to elect a new leader. The ruling was seen as a blow to Chamisa’s legitimacy and influence.

In January 2022, Chamisa officially launched his new party, the Citizens Coalition for Change, in Harare. He unveiled his vision, which included economic revival, social justice, constitutionalism, human rights, anti-corruption, and regional integration. He said that his party was ready to participate in the 2023 elections and defeat ZANU-PF.

 

Nelson Chamisa Personal Life

 

Family

Nelson Chamisa Biography [Image: Nelson Chamisa/Twitter]

 

Chamisa is married to Sithokozile Chamisa, a banker whom he met at church in 2000. They have a son named Ashley Chamisa. Chamisa is a devout Christian who often quotes scriptures in his speeches and prayers. He is also an avid reader who enjoys books on politics, history, law, and theology.

 

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