Interview: ‘Citizens will choose CCC representatives’

Felix Magalela Sibanda

ZIMBABWE will hold general elections in July or August next year.  While the ruling Zanu PF party seems to be well-resourced to campaign for next year’s polls given that more than 500 vehicles have already been purchased, the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change says it does not have enough resources to bankroll its campaign, and will depend on members for funding. Despite the funding challenges, the CCC party says it will win resoundingly next year. NewsDay (ND) reporter Sharon Buwerimwe caught up with Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy spokesperson Felix Magalela Sibanda (FS) to discuss issues pertaining to the CCC party’s preparedness for the 2023 polls.  Read on…

ND: How is CCC going to pick representatives for the 2023 parliamentary and local authority elections?

FS: We have already stated that this is a citizens’ coalition. We are building a formidable party where the citizenry will choose their representatives from their localities. There will be no imposition, the local people will converge and select.

We are happy that there are a lot of defectors who are coming from MDC-T and other parties. They are rallying behind the CCC and we are actually welcoming people. CCC is a people-centred party. There is no doubt that we are going to win by a 67,5% margin next year.”

ND: Does the party have enough resources to campaign for the 2023 polls because Zanu PF has already secured election material and vehicles?

FS: An election is a mammoth exercise and no party will have enough resources. What we depend on are the masses. The people themselves are supporting and sponsoring whatever project we have. We have been campaigning throughout the country winning; and in some cases we are not winning because of violence. Ultimately all those campaign materials needed like fuel, vehicles, money, food and so on will come from the citizenry.

We have sister organisations and our children in the diaspora who add on to our membership fees. Just imagine if every member would pay a dollar  and with over six million people supporting us, that would be US$6 million. We don’t have enough, we are still looking for sponsorship and donations from those who can assist. We will never have enough resources for such elections.

ND: As a party, are you satisfied with your recent showing in by-elections especially in rural areas?

FS: We are not satisfied, but as the new kid on the block we are building momentum. Naturally we are being disturbed by violence that is engineered by Zanu PF supporters. We would have won more by-elections if they were free, fair and credible.

Zanu PF is always a detour as it prohibits democratic dispensation just because it is afraid of us. Just imagine the scenario in Matobo, Insiza, Gokwe and Uzumba and Maramba-Pfungwe where people were being intimidated, made to pretend to be illiterate and being assisted to vote. If they suspect you to be a member of the opposition, they will command that you cannot vote on your own. It’s very unfortunate.

People in the rural areas have been intimidated since the pre-independence period. Zanu PF inherited the tactics from the Ian Smith Rhodesian era where chiefs and traditional leaders are now commissariats for Zanu PF. Rural people are not zombies. This time we have broken the chains, we are now 50/50 with Zanu PF in the rural areas. This means that we are far ahead of Zanu PF in accumulating votes.

The coming elections will not pass the test in terms of credibility so long as Zanu PF is behaving in a violent manner. We hope that as we develop, the Southern Africa Development Community  will intervene as you have already heard that the United Kingdom has already expressed displeasure over rights abuses in the country. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to visit the United Kingdom to discuss issues regarding Zimbabwe.

ND: Do you have strategies in place to protect your supporters against violence perpetrated by Zanu PF as we approach the 2023 elections?

FS: We cannot expose those strategies. They are very critical issues which we cannot say. We are not going to reveal how we are going to protect our people. All I can say is that the party has machinery to shield our people, otherwise that question has to remain as it is.

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