Nelson Chamisa

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Nelson Chamisa
Nelson chamisa.jpg
President of the Movement for Democratic Change
Assumed office
15 February 2018
Preceded byMorgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T)
Minister of Information Communication Technology of Zimbabwe
In office
13 February 2009 – 31 July 2013
PresidentRobert Mugabe
Prime MinisterMorgan Richard Tsvangirai
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded bySupa Mandiwanzira
Personal details
Born (1978-02-02) 2 February 1978 (age 43)
Fort Victoria, Rhodesia
(now Masvingo, Zimbabwe)
Political partyMovement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (2005-2018)
Movement for Democratic Change (2018-present)
ResidenceHarare, Zimbabwe
Alma materHarare Polytechnic
University of Zimbabwe

Nelson Chamisa (born 2 February 1978[1]) is a Zimbabwean politician and the former President of the Movement for Democratic Change[2][3] He served as Member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe for Kuwadzana East, Harare. Chamisa was the MDC Alliance's candidate for president in the 2018 general election, having previously been the leader of the party's youth assembly.[4] On 31 March 2020, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ruled that Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate MDC leader in a judgment that settles the drawn out leadership wrangle between him and Thokozani Khuphe.

Nelson Chamisa has also been involved in a scramble for leadership with Tendai Biti who announced his intention to compete for the Presidency "with or without the MDC Alliance".[5]


Chamisa is the former chairperson of the MDC Youth Assembly. He was elected MDC spokesman at the Party Congress in June 2006. In April 2011 at the Party's congress in Bulawayo, he was elected as the Party's Organising secretary, a post that previously belonged to Elias Mudzuri. In Parliament, he was chair of the portfolio committees of Defence and Home Affairs, Public Accounts, Gender and Youth, and Transport and Communications. Chamisa is also a member of the Local Government, Public Works & Urban Development, and the African Caribbean and Pacific Parliament. He is a former secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Students Union.

In March 2007 he was attacked at Harare International Airport as he attempted to leave the country for Belgium; he was admitted to a hospital with a broken skull. In regards to the current situation in Zimbabwe, he said, "There is no security. There is no protection. All of us are at risk."[6]

On 10 February 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai designated Chamisa for the position of Minister of Information, Communication, and Technology as part of the national unity government.[7] After taking office, he fell into a dispute with Webster Shamu, the Minister of Information and Publicity, regarding which ministry should deal with telecommunications. The Herald reported on 10 April 2009, that President Robert Mugabe had assigned responsibility for telecommunications to the Ministry of Transport, headed by Nicholas Goche.[8] Chamisa and Tsvangirai objected to this decision, saying that Mugabe had no power to unilaterally assign telecommunications to another ministry under the terms of the power-sharing agreement.

Chamisa served as a cabinet minister from February 2009 to July 2013, until the end of the Government of national Unity. He also served as the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC-T) organising secretary. He lost the position of party Secretary-General in the party's 2014 Congress to Douglas Mwonzora. Chamisa has been accused of barring other youth and student leaders from having closer access to party president Tsvangirai, a move allegedly meant to protect his position. After the expulsion of Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma, Chamisa's relationship with Morgan Tsvangirai deteriorated; he was apparently not well-liked by Tsvangirai's loyalists. On 16 July 2016 Chamisa was appointed as co-Vice President of the MDC by Tsvangirai to serve alongside Mudzuri and Khupe.

When party leader Morgan Tsvangirai began battling colon cancer, power struggles began to ensue in the party, mainly between the three Vice Presidents Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe. On 14 February 2018, it was announced that Tsvangirai had succumbed to colon cancer in the hospital and the next day, the Party's national council appointed Chamisa acting President for a period of 12 months effectively elbowing Mudzuri and Khupe out. As the new President of the MDC he also took over the role of Leader of the MDC Alliance.

On 30 July 2018, Chamisa lost a disputed election to ZANU PF's Mnangagwa. The election has been widely criticized for lacking credibility and being unfair.[9] Chamisa challenged the election results in Zimbabwe's constitutional court but his challenge was dismissed with cost. After the failure to convince the Constitutional Court, Chamisa questioned the independence of the judiciary and has since promised his supporters a strategy to regain stolen electoral victory.[10]

Chamisa claims ZANU-PF lost elections. His claims are partially backed up by the EU observers and several other observer bodies that reported the elections were not free and fair.[citation needed]


Chamisa holds a bachelor's degree in political science and public administration, and an LLB (Honours) from the University of Zimbabwe. He is a qualified lawyer and has worked for Harare law firm Atherstone and Cook since November 2014. In 2016, he obtained a degree in Pentecostal Theology from Living Waters Theological Seminary of Harare, a seminary affiliated with the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe.[11]

Stance on Israel[edit]

During the run-up to the 2018 elections, to garner the Judeo-Christian vote, Chamisa embarked on a tour of Israel. His spokesperson and office refused to share the reasons of the visit, saying "It was a private visit, which was undertaken by the president and we expect him in the country anytime from now".[12] Upon his return, he declared that should he win he would follow the controversial decision by Donald Trump of setting up an embassy in Jerusalem.[13]

Stance on homosexuality[edit]

Speaking on the legacy of Robert Mugabe in an interview with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Chamisa said Mugabe's views on homosexuality were positive, saying, "We must be able to respect what God ordained and how we are created as a people, there are a male and a female, there are Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve".[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nelson Chamisa". Movement for Democratic Change Online. Movement for Democratic Change. Archived from the original on 19 November 2005. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  2. ^ "PROFILE: Nelson Chamisa, the young rival seeking Zimbabwe poll upset".
  3. ^ "Nelson Chamisa". Chamisa declared illegitimate president. My Zimbabwe News. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  4. ^ The Harare Times (30 November 2018). "What next for Nelson Chamisa?". The Harare Times.
  5. ^ Retrieved 26 August 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Zimbabwe stops activists leaving". BBC Online. 18 March 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  7. ^ "Zimbabwe: Full Tsvangirai MDC Cabinet List", SW Radio Africa (, 10 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Mugabe gives ally control of telecoms", Sapa-AFP (IOL), 10 April 2009.
  9. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW". DW.COM. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Herald, Chamisa now a pastor,, USA, 28 November 2016
  12. ^ Ncube, Xolisani (1 July 2018). "Chamisa goes to Israel". The Standard. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Zimbabwe opposition pledges upgraded ties with Israel if it takes power". The Times of Israel. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  14. ^ "MDC's Nelson Chamisa speaks on Cde Mugabe's legacy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Zimbabwe
Preceded by
Learnmore Judah Jongwe
Member of the Zimbabwe Parliament from Kuwadzana East
Succeeded by
Charlton Hwende
Political offices
Preceded by
Position established
Ministry of Information and Communications Technology
Succeeded by
Supa Mandiwanzira
Party political offices
Preceded by
Morgan Tsvangirai
President of Movement for Democratic Change