Zec can’t cheat us this time: CCC

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CCC leaders (from left) Thabita Khumalo, Welshman Ncube, Nelson Chamisa (president), Tendai Biti, Job Sikhala and Chalton Hwende (seated on the ground) at a rally held in Gweru

BY BLESSED MHLANGA /EVANS MATHANDA

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday claimed that his party was  now alert to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission  (Zec) rigging machinations ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Addressing thousands of party supporters in Gweru, Chamisa claimed that he now had “eyes” inside the commission.

Chamisa has previously claimed that he was cheated by the electoral commission in the 2018 elections and refused to recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory despite losing a Constitutional Court challenge.

“This time I assure you, there will be no rigging, I now have eyes in Zec, I am being briefed about their every move and even if they want to rig, we will know in advance and act to avert it,” Chamisa said.

The commission is under fire after watchdog Team Pachedu analysed the March 26 voters roll and unearthed gross irregularities, including changes to 156 polling stations and the moving of more than 177 000 voters to different constituencies.

In response, Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba last week threatened to sue Team Pachedu, adding that she was only answerable to Parliament.

Chamisa also spoke directly to securocrats, who he said should not fear for their jobs, but “corrupt” Zanu PF officials had to go so that the country could enjoy economic growth.

“I know that the security forces are scared to lose their jobs in the event that CCC becomes government. But they should not be scared. It is corrupt Zanu PF leaders who we want to remove and arrest in the new government.”

He promised his supporters that he will form a very lean Cabinet.

“Those in government who fear that they will lose their jobs, don’t worry, fear not because we are not after removing the head, but we want to change the haircut, we are after the politicians and not government workers.

“Government is not an industry, it is not supposed to be a space where you come for cars, money and jobs for the boys — no. Our government will be lean, 12 to 13 ministers only and no deputies,” he said amid applause.

On devolution, he said all ministers of State would be removed to allow decentralisation of power to take
effect.

“We will not have governors, our government will ensure that governance is put to the people, we can’t have everything being done in Harare, we want to make sure Gweru is our administrative capital, Harare our commercial capital and Bulawayo our industrial hub,” he said.

Chamisa also said his party was not interested in coalescing with MDCs.

“My brothers don’t unite with this person (Douglas Mwonzora the leader of the MDC Alliance). He does not help you, if you engage in a government of national unity (GNU) with a dead person, you are also dead.”

Recently, Mwonzora said he discussed the possibility of forming a GNU with Mnangagwa.

Chamisa urged Mnangagwa to retire, so that young people could take the country forward. He said politics was a game of ideas, not guns.

At the rally, all interim CCC leaders sat with the crowd, with no VIP tent or chairs for the top table.

Chamisa said this was now “the new normal” as the VIP tent created distance between party leadership and the electorate.

In Bulawayo on Saturday, Chamisa promised to restore the city to its former glory of being the country’s industrial hub.

He told thousands of supporters at White City Stadium that his government will set up a truth commission to resolve the emotive Gukurahundi issue.

“There will no longer be destruction of memorial plaques and we will make Bhalagwe a national monument,” the CCC leader said, also promising that the Bulawayo water problems would be a thing of the past.

“The water project (Gwayi-Shangani Dam) will no longer be an election issue whereby you are promised the completion of the project each time elections are close. I will complete the project in exactly three years,” Chamisa said.

CCC interim vice-president Tendai Biti also addressed the Gweru crowd, saying Zimbabwe needed to dollarise until the economy stabilised enough to introduce its own currency.

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