CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators for Mutare Central and Mutasa Central, Innocent Gonese and Trevor Saruwaka have stepped down from contesting in this year’s polls despite being nominated.
CCC opted for a citizens-centric process to produce the party’s candidates as opposed to the traditional model of primary elections.
The process is being conducted by an independent body, Citizens’ Independent Candidate Selection Panel (CISP), which will produce the party’s contestants in the general election through four stages namely candidate nomination, candidate vetting, candidates’ caucuses and declaration of successful candidates.
In a statement, Gonese, who is one of the opposition bigwigs, said he decided to decline the nomination, and has chosen to back another nomination candidate Brian James to contest for the seat. Gonese’s decisions also come shortly after Saruwaka stepped down from contesting, a move CCC described as meaning to prove to President Emmerson Mnangagwa that power can be transferred peacefully.
“I would like to thank the people of Mutare Central for giving me the opportunity to represent them as their representative in Parliament and also for nominating me as a Candidate in the forthcoming elections,” Gonese said.
“I am also happy that the former Mutare Mayor was also nominated as a candidate and while all the names are being vetted pending further processes, such as consultations and consensus in terms of the new candidate selection procedures, I have decided to decline the nomination.”
He said there was need for new leadership and he was available to offer support for the new leaders.
“I had a fruitful discussion with James yesterday as I consider him a very worthy and deserving person to take over from me and I am pleased to advise that we are going to work together to ensure that Mutare Central remains yellow and plays its part in ensuring that we deliver maximum votes for President Chamisa and all candidates in other positions.
“There is a need for leadership renewal and passing of the baton. I will remain available to render my full support as I am a fully committed champion for change. Brian will have my full support and cooperation and let’s continue to encourage people to register to vote so that we can win big and deliver change,” added the veteran Member of Parliament (MP) who has been quite vocal in Parliament ever since he was elected into the august House in 2008 under the MDC ticket.
Speaking during a Press conference in Harare last week, CCC’s CISP spokesperson Shepard Ngandu said the candidate selection process had now entered the vetting process thus scanning candidates’ credentials and digging into candidates’ history to see if they meet the party’s democratic requirements.—NewsDay.