The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Chamisa party heads for another split

- Herald Reporters

CCC could be headed for a split judging by the continued confusion and leadership crises that saw the party fielding double candidates at yesterday’s Nomination Court where rival factions tussled for recognitio­n as authentic representa­tives.

The Nomination Court sat in Bulawayo, Matabelela­nd North, Matabelela­nd South, and Harare provinces to receive papers from nine National Assembly candidates whose seats fell vacant after the CCC party recalled them.

CCC interim secretary general, Mr Sengenzo Tshabangu, in protest over how the party affairs are run, instigated the recall of 15 legislator­s of which nine were constituen­cy holders with others coming in under proportion­al representa­tion.

Mr Tshabangu argues that the recalled MPs and councillor­s were imposed on the people in the run-up to the August 23 harmonised elections, and it is time to return the opposition outfit to constituti­onalism.

While the recalled MPs took Mr Tshabangu to court challengin­g their recall, the High Court dismissed their case over the weekend.

Following the recalls, President Mnangagwa proclaimed November 7 as the Nomination Court date and December 9 as the date for the by-elections.

Yesterday, different political parties fielded candidates to replace those who were recalled, marking the start of campaigns to woo the voters.

Ironically, the CCC party had two camps fielding candidates for all the vacant seats, a developmen­t that party insiders say is a typical case of shooting oneself in the foot. Representa­tives of both camps confirmed that the opposition party is headed for a split, if it has not already split.

Former Nkulumane legislator Advocate Kucaca Phulu led Mr Tshabangu’s backed candidates and these are Mr Vusumuzi Chirwa (Cowdray Park), Mr Ambrose Sibindi (Nketa), James Sithole (Bulawayo South), Ms Tendai Nyathi (Lobengula Magwegwe) and Mr Charles Moyo (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi).

On the other hand, Ms Sithabile Mlilo led the faction of the recalled MPs who also successful­ly filed their papers.

These are Mr Pashor Sibanda (Cowdray Park), Ms Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Mr Ereck Gono (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Obert Manduna (Nketa) and Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi).

In an interview, Adv Phulu who described himself as a ‘carrier-boy’ for yesterday’s proceeding­s, said it has become obvious that the

Nelson Chamisa-led opposition party has fractured.

“What I can tell you is that what is apparent today is that you have double candidates that have filed under the CCC party and that indicates that there are fissures within that party,” he said.

“Fissures are an opportunit­y for people to reach out to each other and engage and iron out whatever it is that is causing those rifts so that an organisati­on can move on,” said Adv Phulu.

He said any serious political organisati­on should have internal mechanisms to handle its challenges, but CCC does not have these.

Adv Phulu said the opposition is being destroyed by its lack of a Constituti­on and engaging in robust contestati­on of ideas.

“Once an organisati­on is able to do that, it is mature and it is moving forward. I have no doubt that this organisati­on has the backbone to resist these shocks, has ability to hold discussion­s on these subjects and topics that are the subject of discussion,” he added.

“An organisati­on that is robust, built on firm principles, firm constituti­on and firm leadership should really be able to withstand these shocks.

“Discussion­s and contestati­ons of ideas within an organisati­on is not really an unhealthy thing and what is unhealthy is inability to handle those contradict­ions, our unwillingn­ess to handle those contradict­ions, and our unprepared­ness to handle those debates.”

Adv Phulu said the fielding of double candidates will divide the party’s votes and the opposition does not benefit from the divisions.

He, however, said there is also nothing to benefit from how the party is run at the moment.

“But at the same time peace is not the absence of war. It is not healthy to be quiet and not discuss issues and not challenge certain issues that are not done properly simply because you desire peace.

“You might find peace in a prison and peace in a prison is not peace at all. Jockeying and contestati­on is not necessaril­y the existence of war,” said Adv Phulu.

Ms Mlilo also confirmed that it has become apparent that there are now two factions within the CCC.

“I will only talk about our citizens’ candidates. Those are the only candidates that I can only comment about. We have people that we voted for on August 23 and those are the same candidates that we have retained because as a party we didn’t recall them and that’s the reason they are back. I’m not going to talk about the other camp,” said Ms Mlilo.

She said the coming by-elections will define who are the real CCC members.

In Masvingo it was the same case as two candidates filed papers at the Nomination Court to represent the party in next month’s by-election in Ward 2 in the city.

The by-election was necessitat­ed by the recall of Ms Shantiel Chiwara who was voted councillor for Ward 2 in the August 23 election and subsequent­ly elected Masvingo City’s first female and youngest mayor.

Ms Chiwara successful­ly filed papers to represent CCC at the Nomination Court which sat at the Civic Centre and was presided over by Ms Getrude Murumbi.

Former CCC Ward 3 councillor Mr Rocky Kamuzondo also successful­ly filed papers to represent CCC in Ward 2.

The ruling Zanu PF party will be represente­d by Cde Benson Hwata in the by-election. Joining the duo in the race is top city lawyer Mr Frank Chirairo who filed papers to contest Ward 2 as an independen­t candidate.

Mr Chirairo quit CCC in a huff just before the August 23 harmonised elections after he was blocked from contesting on the party ticket despite being the popular candidate.

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