In 2013, he was tasked to spearhead the party’s election as organising secretary and the MDC suffered its worst defeat since its inception in 1999.
He was accused of being divisive, immature and cunning and popular among the young voters who had lost hope in the Zanu PF led government.
In 2014, he was clobbered by Douglas Mwonzora for the post of secretary general despite being in charge of party structures then as organising secretary.
Through his witty, charismatic and eloquence, Nelson Chamisa is now the MDC stand- in Presidnet since February 2018 when the founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai died due to cancer of the colon.
On May 25, 2019 Chamisa will know if indeed his charismatic and good diction will land the presidency of the MDC for the next 5 years.
His main rival although yet to be nominated, is Mwonzora, the man who humbled him in 2014 with one nomination against 11 who had selected Chamisa for the SG post.
The 41 year old youthful advocate and preacher with the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe, hopes to land the top MDC job and be the face of the party come 2023 general elections.
His rise to the currect post has been characterised with controversy.
The oldguard in the movement view him as divisive and cunning. But the youths look up to him for inspiration and have vowed to support him with sweat and blood.
To his strength, Chamisa, as a stand-in leader, grew the party’s support base by over a million votes within a short period of time but it came with a cost of losing some long servicing leaders such as Thokozani Khupe who now leads her own MDC-T.
As the stand in leader, Chamisa completed the reintegration on the MDC by bringing on board some founding members who had deserted Tsvangirai since 2005.
His rivals believe the bringing back of Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube did not add value in the 2018 elections as still the MDC Alliance failed to win both the parliament and the presidency.
On the other hand, Mwonzora, also a lawyer has been described as a shrewd politician with a capacity to ruin Chamisa’s chance and has been riding on history, how he won the secretary general post ahead of his now main contender.
Neutrals within the party view the 2014 congress result as a was of silencing Chamisa who was popular among party supporters.
Mwonzora’ s victory has largely been attributed to Tsvangirai.
With the congress fever growing, division within the party is now pronounced and camps now popular.
From the grassroots, Chamisa seem to have the post already in the bag but others believe the structures with the voting mandate are with Mwonzora
Campaign posters are already circulating around and alliances being formed.
Chamisa’s alleged imposition of candidates in the 2018 still haunts him and as a result most of his allies are suffering heavy defeat at the hands of those aligned to Mwonzora in the district congress elections.
Disgruntled party members who were sidelined during last year’s harmonized elections are working very hard to oust Chamisa at the May national congress and others have even dragged the ‘favored’ candidates to the courts for being ‘imposed’ in areas where they were not supposed to have contested.
The bitterness from within the party structures makes this congress even more unpredictable than ever.
Although Mwonzora is yet to be nominated by any province or structure, the battle for presidency is centered around him and Chamisa.
Mwonzora prides support from the party structures which he seemingly controls as the party secretary general whilst Chamisa is popular among the general population which might not exactly have an upper hand in voting at congress.
What then would be the fate of the MDC if by chance or luck Mwonzora was to win the seat while most contesters and the general public have put their weight behind Chamisa? Do we brace for a third MDC following the split of Khupe?
As the old adage goes, will history repeats its self? The die has been cast.