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CCC split ‘orphans’ Nelson Chamisa
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CCC split ‘orphans’ Nelson Chamisa

Nelson Chamisa

Pondai B Shozhera

The Citizens Coalition for Change political party, which with all the glitz of yellow and presumed popular support, lost the elections in August 2023 to the ruling Zanu PF, has effectively split. The split has orphaned party leader Nelson Chamisa, who has been left clutching straws as the CCC project’s control flew elsewhere.

The CCC split was put into public glare during the candidate selection process to choose candidates for National Assembly and local authority elections held on August 23-24, 2023. It was clear that party leader Nelson Chamisa, who had fought bruising battles in an attempt to muscle out Thokozani Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora as well as other top opposition leaders for the party presidency, pushed Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube out of contested National Assembly positions.

It was clearly a power game. His preferred strategic ambiguity was not aimed at rivals in Zanu PF as it targeted erstwhile colleagues within the opposition ranks. With Job Sikhala, a vocal and militant former vice national chairperson in the MDC Alliance, Biti and Ncube remained the only high-ranking party officials he targeted for elimination.

Firstly, Chamisa in a show of authoritarianism, declared that no one in the CCC had a position in the party except himself. Later, he handpicked Fadzai Mahere for party spokesperson position. Without defined structures and a constitution, the CCC lacked accountability and Chamisa could do as he pleased with the party. He was the absolute authority.

Candidate selection process for August 2023 polls

One of the most crucial periods in the CCC’s self-destruct history is the candidates’ selection process, which was ostensibly meant to get supporters buy-in to the people who would represent the party in the elections. Chamisa appeared not to like any of the senior MDC Alliance colleagues near him. Not even those who had dined with them at any point in the party’s history. With Biti losing the right to represent Harare East to Allan Markham and Ncube being asked to go to the Senate instead of the National Assembly, it was open war.

The final list of CCC candidates for the National Assembly elections were not made public with Chamisa keeping his choices to his chest until the 11th hour – Nomination Court sitting on June 21, 2023 across the country. It was clear to all and sundry that Chamisa had ignored CCC supporters’ choices during the selection that the candidates had been subjected to.

The fielding of two or more CCC candidates for the national Assembly, particularly in Bulawayo and some constituencies in Harare was a self-destruct button, whose results are there for all to see.

Enter Sengezo Tshabangu

Disputed CCC secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu was a direct creation of Chamisa’s despotism. Although Chamisa and his gullible followers have vainly tried to dismiss Tshabangu, claiming he was not a CCC member, let alone the party’s secretary-general when he went on a rampage recalling elected legislators, councilors and senators. Many observers did not take him seriously and no one thought the recalls would stand.

Court challenges could not save the recalled MPs and councilors with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission calling for by-elections in the affected constituencies. At the level of the individual, the recalled legislators lost the opportunity to join the august House, related perks and the political power they had just acquired.

Tshabangu made sure the candidates would not contest in the by-elections on December 9, 2023. Another round of by-elections is scheduled for February 3 this year and clearly, candidates who filed their papers under CCC and got their papers signed by any other official besides Tshabangu, may not contest the by-elections. These include Amos Chibaya (Mkoba North), Gift Ostallos Siziba (Pelandaba-Tshabalala), Oliver Mutasa (Zvimba East), Admore Chivero (Chegutu West and Stephen Chatiza (Goromonzi West).

Tapfumanei Madzimbamuto of Seke constituency filed as an independent candidate.

Politics at Town House

Developments at the City of Harare have also confirmed that CCC has split. There were attempts to pass a vote of no confidence in Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume on Friday, which failed after getting the support of only four councillors. Chamisa does not like Mafume, whom he believes is loyal to Biti. Mafume was in the People’s Democratic Party before the MDC Alliance came into being.

The fights at the City of Harare are still ongoing at the expense, sadly, of service delivery, which is what the residents want, especially at this juncture when cholera figures are ballooning countrywide.

The biggest loser in all this are the people of Zimbabwe who have been taken for a ride by a fractious opposition, which costs national processes daily. Parliament business is stalling as the opposition conflicts continue to fester. And now, work at the City of Harare, where Mafume performed very well during his previous stint at Town House, also suffers daily as councillors fight useless wars in the ongoing CCC power games.

Supporters of the CCC must not get confused as their party has split, with one group supporting Chamisa while the Tshabangu camp, believed to be fronted by Ncube and Biti is the other one.

Political analyst Kudakwashe Munemo believes the fielding of double candidates prior and after elections are testament to the cracks that have developed in the opposition party.

“The fielding of the double candidates which started prior to and has continued post elections demonstrates the fissures within the party and the high levels of greed among some of the party members who have aligned themselves for personal interests,” Munemo told Zim Now.

At the time writing of this piece, social media was awash with posts on the Democratic Alternative in Zimbabwe following Gift Ostallos Siziba’s post, with X users speculating that DAZ could be yet another Chamisa creation following the almost certain death of CCC.

Wrote Siziba on X: “The leader of the Democratic Alternative in Zimbabwe is Advo (sic) Nelson Chamisa.”

Clearly, the problems that manifested when the MDC Alliance “died” have inherently continued to fog Chamisa’s political vision. The challenges were inadvertently carried forward into the CCC, which is now on the verge of collapse. As long as these are not addressed, whatever political animal Chamisa may come up with is bound to fail dismally in attempts to unseat Zanu PF. 

 

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