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‘FAZ-linked’ CCC candidate defiant

Local News
The process had the nomination stage, vetting and citizens caucuses, among others. I was nominated and was advised to submit papers for vetting. We waited for names to return.

OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has more than 20 double candidates vying for parliamentary seats. The party blames Zanu PF and its shadowy affiliate group, the Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), for sponsoring and forging the signatures of the “bogus candidates”. The CCC has now approached the courts seeking to nullify their candidacy. NewsDay Weekender (ND) reporter Sharon Buwerimwe spoke to one of the alleged double candidates, Freddy Masarirevu (FM), who is eyeing the St Marys constituency. Find excerpts below.

ND: What happened leading to you being on the CCC nomination list?

FM: I was part of the candidates selected to participate in the CCC selection process and as you may be aware, ours was a process and not an election.

The process had the nomination stage, vetting and citizens caucuses, among others. I was nominated and was advised to submit papers for vetting. We waited for names to return.

What it meant is that if I had failed the vetting stage my name was not going to return. That is what we were also advised. My name was returned for citizens’ caucuses on June 17 and a day or two before that the CCC president Nelson Chamisa had even indicated that candidates must come from the people. The caucuses were to decide the fate of the candidate.

I participated in the caucuses and I had the highest numbers. I was asked to submit my papers to the party headquarters.

On nomination day I was called and told that I was the candidate. However, I later saw messages on WhatsApp groups saying one Brighton Mazhindu was the successful candidate. A follow up call came saying I was not a candidate.

ND: There are allegations that you forged the signature to file your nomination papers.

FM: Until now, I have always believed that my papers were genuinely signed. After the issue of double candidates, I felt that I was being made the sacrificial lamb by certain individuals for some unknown reasons.

I felt those who wanted me out had an agenda which was not in line with the party’s principles. With what our president had said that the candidate will come from the people. Until today, I have refused to believe claims that the CCC did not want me. I am still in full force campaigning for president Chamisa and will continue doing so.

The calm in St Marys is because the majority who elected me are happy with my candidature and actually praising the party for giving us opportunities to be involved. All of my followers know who our presidential candidate is and we are not moving an inch on that.

ND: Why did you not withdraw your nomination papers after being ordered by the party?

FM: I read a statement which said I should withdraw because there was a claim that I had forged documents. If I had withdrawn then that was going to confirm the allegation that was not true. The insults that followed made it difficult and complicated. Until today, I believe my papers were in order.

ND: Can you clarify who is sponsoring your campaign? Reports indicate that you are sponsored by Zanu PF and FAZ?

FM: I am self-sponsoring my campaign. I have no sponsor, the biggest sponsors I have are the people of St Marys. Most of the activities have been done by them without any input from me. Their love and determination to see young people like me taking over and leading in the constituency is unmatched. In most cases I will be at courts, they do all the work.

ND: Mazhindu alleged that you petrol bombed his house. What is your response?

FM: It’s very unfortunate that Mr Mazhindu made such a false and defaming allegation. Fortunately, the people of St Marys dismissed it with the utmost contempt it deserved. I am a lawyer myself and do not believe in violence.

I was not raised like that. A normal person would ask, to what benefit? What do I gain from attacking him?

The motive was very clear, to tarnish my image.

If we are genuine, we must compete on ideas, on how we can make the constituency better. Not undermining or defaming each other. There is no need for violence, elections come and go. We remain residents of St Marys and will need each other beyond elections. We must never allow politics to divide us to that extent. We must leave the electorate to select us based on capacity and competence.

ND: And what about the FAZ links?

FM: Allegations that I am FAZ are baseless. I did not even know what this FAZ was all about until recently from Twitter. FAZ is a Zanu PF aligned group from what I gathered and I am not affiliated to Zanu PF. I am determined to see a change in government and believe president advocate Chamisa will deliver the much needed change. I am a committed member of the CCC under the able leadership of Chamisa. I am CCC. I do cases for party members

ND: What is your endgame since there is a probability that even if you win, the CCC leadership can recall you?

FM: Everyone is asking me what happens if I win. It’s a good question and comes from the fact that most people know that I am going to win this election.  What happens after, I don’t know; we will cross the bridge when we get there.

Focus should be on winning the election, focus should be on winning the presidency and a change in government. This issue is secondary. Our foot is on the pedal and we will continue supporting the movement and what it stands for.

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