BY PROBLEM MASAU
OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has embarked on a nationwide rural mobilisation exercise in a bid to break Zanu PF’s stranglehold on that constituency ahead of next year’s general elections.
Rural areas have traditionally been Zanu PF strongholds, but after a strong showing in the by-elections held last month, CCC is seeking to establish a foothold in a bid to turn the tide.
CCC interim secretary for rural mobilisation, Happymore Chidziva yesterday told NewsDay that the rural mobilisation exercise, code-named Mugwazo, was going to be a game changer in the 2023 elections.
“We have launched a massive recruitment and mobilisation exercise called Mugwazo. We are meeting ordinary citizens in rural areas. This is a nationwide programme where we are mobilising people to register to vote and recruiting them to the CCC party,” Chidziva said.
He said so far CCC had covered Mashonaland East province where it interacted with people from Murewa, Mutoko and Uzumba.
“We are targeting every district in Zimbabwe. Right now, I am in Hwedza together with leaders from Mashonaland East, Charlton Hwende (interim CCC secretary-general) and Murisi Zwizai (Harare Central MP). We have been distributing fliers. Chamisa has highlighted the need to amplify the CCC rural strategy and stressed that CCC’s major thrust would be to grow the rural vote, with an immediate inundation strategy of rural areas to mobilise youths to register to vote,” he said.
Chidziva said the meetings have been largely peaceful.
Last year, during his meet the people tours around the country and before CCC was formed, Chamisa encountered several violent attempts, including being shot at by alleged Zanu PF supporters, often backed by armed police.
Many of his supporters were beaten up resulting in them being hospitalised.
“Zanu PF thrives on intimidation and instils fear in rural folks. The party has been winning elections through coercion. We are telling rural folks that their vote is a secret and if they really want their lives to be improved, they should join CCC,” Chidziva said.
But Zanu PF director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said the ruling party was not bothered about what CCC does.
“We are not going to lose sleep over what MDC or CCC does. We are the governing party. Our focus is on winning the elections in 2023. Our focus is to fulfil the promises we made to our people. Our focus is to improve the lives of ordinary people in Zimbabwe,” Mugwadi said.
Political analysts said in order to win the presidency in 2023, the CCC party should come up with a clear programme targeting the rural vote.
Political analyst Gibson Nyikadzino said: “Encouraging people to register to vote without proper structures is a futile exercise. It is one thing to register a willingness to do that and another to act upon it. Political alternatives in mobilisation strategies come when you are countering an opponent based on structures. As it stands, the CCC has no structures that can compete with Zanu PF,” Nyikadzino said.
“As at February, the restructuring exercise by Zanu PF was carried out on its 74 000 cells which translated to over 3,5 million members because they are targeting a five million membership vote. The CCC says it is targeting six million members, but it has no structures. So this rural mobilisation exercise is a futile exercise because Zanu PF is also doing all it can to consolidate and defend its zones of autonomy.”
In his Big Saturday Read column, legal expert Alex Magaisa said if the CCC wanted to win the rural vote, it should put strategies in place like what was done in Binga North during the just-ended by-elections.
“People want to know what you will do to counter the impediments. Binga North reminds us that you must do what is within your control, and that is to spread your message, to get people to vote, and finally to watch and guard the vote. The CCC will go into the 2023 elections knowing that the odds are heavily against it. It must approach 2023 just like the people of Binga North did. Their will prevailed, despite the best efforts of the regime to thwart it,” Magaisa said.
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