MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday heaped praise on his deputy Nelson Chamisa, describing him as a “dedicated” cadre on his 40th birthday.
In a message on his microblogging site Twitter, an ailing Tsvangirai, who along with Chamisa are members of the MDC’s founding “Top Six”, said the party’s deputy president had shown unwavering dedication over the years.
“@nelsonchamisa joined the struggle for a new #Zimbabwe at an early age & over the years has shown nothing but an unwavering dedication to complete this journey, fierce loyalty to the people & a tenacity to confront any obstacle along the way.
“Help me say HBD (Happy Birthday) as he turns 40 today,” Tsvangirai said in a message accompanied with a picture of him and a young Chamisa taken years ago.
Chamisa, a founding member of the opposition MDC, turned 40 yesterday.
Apparently, the minimum age required to be elected president of the Republic is 40 years on the day of the election.
The new charter also sets a maximum of two five-year terms for the president and curbs presidential powers.
Both Tsvangirai and Chamisa have since the formation of the MDC in 1999, fallen victim to former president Robert Mugabe’s iron fisted rule after they were assaulted and left for dead by State security agents on several occasions.
Chamisa escaped death by a whisker after he was brutally assaulted in March 2007 at Harare International Airport as he was trying to leave for a meeting in Brussels, while Tsvangirai, along with pro-democracy activist Lovemore Madhuku, were assaulted at a Harare police station after a prayer session in 2007 called to protest worsening economic hardships then.
Chamisa started politics at a tender age, rising to be one of the youngest ministers during the government of national unity that ran between 2009 and 2013.
He has served in all three arms of government, the Executive as a Cabinet minister, the Judiciary as an advocate of the High Court, and in Parliament as Kuwadzana East MDC member of Parliament.
Announcing his birthday on social media platforms yesterday, Chamisa wrote: “The chronicles of Nelson Chamisa. My story @ 40..2 February is a special day for me. I thank you all my friends for the warmth & love. I glorify the Almighty God for faithfully taking me through it all”.
He received several congratulatory messages from friends and family, among them MDC youth leader Happymore Chidziva popularly known as Cde Bvondo.
“Nelson Chamisa has over the years inspired many among the young generation…
“He is a success story of the rich attributes and plethora of abilities within the young generation. His journey to 40 years defeats the ancient narrative and belief that youths are only leaders of tomorrow. His story has proven that we lead today and tomorrow. Undoubtedly, he has become a cherished legacy across the divide,” Chidziva said.
Academic Pedzisai Ruhanya who heads the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute think-tank said: “As you turn 40 today and continue on your public political life, you must be strong and liberal to accept criticism where it is due in order to mature. This includes accepting censure from people like me when you make unhelpful statements such as getting $15 billion from Donald Trump.
“We criticise you not because we love your political adversaries and vice versa but because the truth is enriching and enduring.
“Same applies to those in political power contestations in MDC-T such as (Thokozani) Khupe, (Elias) Mudzuri and (Douglas) Mwonzora.
“When we make public your individual failings, it is not that we support one candidate or the other but we do so based on proven and contestable facts available.
“We are free minds whose brief is straight talk and truth bar bootlicking. Happy birthday to Hon Nelson Chamisa!”