THE Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party is set to be officially launched early next year with its leader Nelson Chamisa coming in as an uncontested presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, it has emerged.
Chamisa unveiled the CCC in January this year after his nemesis Douglas Mwonzora snatched the MDC Alliance party, including its symbols and emblems from him.
The CCC is yet to come up with a constitution and official structures.
Chamisa has previously resisted calls to formalise the party through an elective congress and constitution.
He has also said there is no party member with an official position, saying the CCC is a citizen’s movement.
Party sources told The Standard that there is a change of heart with plans to officially launch the party now in motion.
CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba confirmed the development, but could not disclose the exact date of the launch saying they feared infiltration by state agents and Zanu PF spies.
“We are ready to launch CCC very soon," Siziba told The Standard in an interview.
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“Chamisa is qualitatively and quantitatively the most popular, most loved and most preferred leader.
“President Chamisa is by far the preferred choice in options for the next president."
Siziba said party members were informed of the upcoming launch, and Chamisa as an uncontested leader during a meeting held in the capital last week.
“We held our meeting last week in Harare with all the point persons from all over the country, our change champions from all over the country working in community to inform the people on our path to launch the movement,” he said.
“We met to get reports on voters' roll, delimitation and voter registration in the countryside preparedness. There’s excitement in the rank and file.”
In resisting calls to formalise the party, the CCC has argued that structures have been previously used by the ruling Zanu PF party and suspected state agents to infiltrate and destabilise the opposition.
Exiled minister Jonathan Moyo has led the criticism over the lack of structures in the CCC.
At one point, he said the CCC was operating like a ‘secret society’ as he called for the regulation of all political parties in the country.
Siziba said they did not want to succumb to ‘sponsored narratives’ by critics such as Moyo.
“Our launch will be a confirmation beyond any doubt that we are new in form, character and strategy,” he said.
“We have been building the alternative from below and now we are satisfied to a greater degree that we are ready to unleash the citizens' potential in a bid to win Zimbabwe for change.
“We have built networks domestically with key players and internationally we have made our case beyond any doubt.
“We have had to build our electoral infrastructure to the level and extent that we got 61% of the total by-election outcome."
Political analysts were divided on having Chamisa going to the official launch of the CCC as an uncontested presidential candidate.
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said it was "logical" for Chamisa to stand as the presidential candidate as the founding CCC leader.
"Chamisa is the founder of the party who objectively is popular as confirmed by the 2018 elections and the recent Afrobarometer survey," Gwede said.
“The endorsement by party members is crucial in securing broader consensus around that candidature. A founding leader such as Chamisa can only be challenged at congress."
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said this was against the principles of democracy.
“Political party leaders do not want to take the risk of being booted out," Masunungure said.
"Going to an election uncontested internally is a risk-prevention strategy.
“But it points to the shrinkage of democracy. It raises issues of transparency, and democratic credentials.
“To barricade a leader against democratic choices of supporters is against the principles of democracy as members should have freedom to choose the leaders they want."