BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is battling fresh internal turbulence after some party bigwigs openly said that they were uncomfortable with party leader Nelson Chamisa extending an olive branch to his rivals in opposition circles.
Chamisa’s CCC announced its intentions to win big in the 2023 elections after grabbing 19 of the 28 contested seats in the just-ended by-elections.
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora, who claimed all the MDC symbols resulting in Chamisa rebranding to the CCC two months ago, did not win a single seat in the March 26 by-elections.
Insiders told NewsDay Weekender that the question of whether defectors from Mwonzora’ camp could be accepted or rejected had divided opinion in the top echelons of the party.
Mwonzora has been facing rebellion after the electoral defeat, with other party members, including his former close ally Fungai Chiposi, defecting to the CCC.
However, a move by Chiposi and other former MDC-T members, including former vice-president Thokozani Khupe and Abednico Bhebhe (ex-organising secretary), has unsettled some high-ranking CCC executives ahead of the party’s inaugural congress.
Bhebhe has already joined CCC.
CCC interim vice-president Welshmam Ncube is reportedly pushing for unconditional admission of Khupe into the party.
But CCC interim national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo has declared that she would not allow for Khupe’s admission to the CCC, describing her as divisive.
Other high-ranking members from Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance are reportedly set to defect to CCC after suffering heavy defeats in the March 26 by-elections.
In reaction to Chiposi’s announcement, CCC youth leader Cecilia Chimbiri also expressed disapproval and tweeted: “One who said we faked an abduction, one who rewrote my ordeal together with @JoanaMamombe @MarovaNetsai. One who added salt to injury? It’s personal for me because I still have wounds on top of that, being persecuted. I’m supposed to smile and just welcome because …”
In an interview, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere told NewsDay Weekender that the opposition did not discriminate against anyone regardless of their political background.
“We focus on values, action and policies, not personalities. Chamisa said in his 2022 Agenda address that this is a year of action for change,” she said.
“The guiding value is that we put the citizens first and they are at the centre of all decision-making. The only qualification to join is that one is a citizen. The citizens will choose their leaders at the appropriate time.”
Mahere added: “The movement is currently focused on important next steps after we managed to successfully trounce Zanu PF and MDC in the by-elections. This was despite the odds and the process revealed that Zec [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] is not fit for purpose.
“We are working on holding them to account through litigation and political pressure. We are focused on building the machine to ensure we win six million votes in the presidential election, a two-thirds majority in Parliament and clean sweeps in local authorities.”
Party supporters expressed mixed feelings over the defectors, with some warning the party leaders to guard against possible infiltration.
Khupe pledged her support to Chamisa’s CCC just before the by-elections, which triggered outrage among CCC supporters.
Yesterday, Khupe through her spokesperson Ntando Ndlovu said she intended to join the CCC as an individual not as party leader.
“The former Deputy Prime Minister is of the view that to defeat an authoritarian government like Zanu PF, the opposition political parties must unite and form a formidable force against Zanu PF,” Ndlovu said.
“As it currently stands, the only capable alternative to Zanu PF is the CCC party and, therefore, she believes that opposition political players must coalesce under CCC and rally behind Chamisa. Alliances have caused problems before. People must join as opposed to forming alliances.”
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