Monday 19 June 2023


 Zimbabwe’s opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa says it will announce names of party candidates, who are expected to contest the crucial council and parliamentary elections, on Wednesday when the Nomination Court sits nationwide.

Addressing journalists in Harare on Sunday, Chamisa all people who will be taking part in the elections have been selected by citizens but naming the candidates before the Nomination Court may result in the ruling party sabotaging the outcome of their Consensus Candidates’ Selection process.

Chamisa, whose party released a preliminary list of selected candidates, said Zanu PF has “terrorized” its candidates in the past and therefore it is important to withhold the names until the Nomination Court sits.

"Why should we announce candidates in the context where we have Zanu PF literally pursuing our candidates one-by-one? You want us to advertise targets and victims? We are dealing with Zanu PF and we know how to deal with them."

Chamisa noted that they will be fielding candidates in all council and parliamentary elections, adding that those who won’t be selected to represent CCC in the election are free to stand as independent candidates.

"In fact, the more the merrier. Being an independent is actually simple because they can actually file now. If you have a query and you feel the grievances handling body hasn't handled it well, feel free to run on your own, but know that CCC will have a full complement of candidates," he said.

Speaking to Studio 7 at the same event, CCC deputy spokesperson, Gift Ostallos Siziba, also said there are fears that Zanu PF may cause havoc if the opposition releases the names of its candidates before the Nomination Court sits on Tuesday.

"It is said ‘once beaten, twice shy’. This is 2023 and we know these people, hence we want to be a step ahead. But the communities know who will be representing them."

But Zanu PF Central Committee member, Joseph Tshuma, thinks otherwise, accusing the Citizens Coalition for Change of being disorganized and trying to fight fielding many candidates in one constituency or ward.

"They want to accuse the ruling party of something we have nothing to do with. We have been having elections for the longest time and they have been participating freely … Because massive defeat is imminent, they are now clutching on straws."

Praise Moyo, one of the commissioners who was leading the Consensus Candidate Selection process, said they conducted what “I believe was a true reflection of the people.”

Moyo said, "Everything we did was above board. We solved grievances through formal channels. It's now up to the party to take it over from here but we believe we presented the will of the people.

In an interview with Studio 7, Citizens Coalition for Change deputy secretary for elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga, was confident that they will get the rural vote this time around, which has been the opposition's biggest undoing over the years.

"We embarked on a process called Umgwazo where we went deep into all rural areas campaigning. Some of the fruits from this exercise included our winning two seats in the Bulilima by-elections ... I'm confident we will win more seats this time around."

Binga North CCC parliamentarian, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, echoed Shiriyedenga's sentiments, noting that it is likely that they will get a majority in parliament.

"We have done our homework and besides winning the presidential election, I also think we shall get the two-thirds majority in the august house."

However, political analyst, Elton Ziki, said Shiriyedenga and Sibanda are daydreaming.

"This party is far from being organized considering the time they took to know who will be representing them in the election and the masses can tell. Also, all the municipal councils they run are in shambles, yet the ruling party is delivering roads, dams and electricity, among others things. They face obvious defeat.”

Some of the potential candidates who may run under a CCC MP ticket are former Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba, youngster Cecilia Chimbiri, and Richard, son to the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

CCC will field Chamisa as its presidential candidate while Zanu PF has already nominated President Emmerson Mnangagwa as its trump card for the poll set for 23 August this year.

The two squared off in 2018 and the courts had to declare Mnangagwa the winner even though his winning margin is still unclear. Chamisa refused to recognize Mnangagwa as the winner claiming that the election was stolen by the ruling party.

At least six people were gunned down in 2018 when some people protested in Harare demanding the release of presidential elections. A commission led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe recommended that the victims’ relatives should be compensated by the government, which was also pressed to address the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities. VOA


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