BULAWAYO – The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is facing a major crisis as two factions of the opposition party have fielded different candidates for the upcoming by-elections on December 9.
The by-elections will fill 17 vacant council seats and 14 National Assembly seats in various constituencies across the country.
The Nelson Chamisa faction, which claims to be the legitimate leadership of the party, has retained all the candidates who were recalled by the self-proclaimed interim Secretary General Sengezo Tshabangu.
Tshabangu, who says he has the backing of the High Court, has also fielded his own set of candidates.
The double candidate phenomenon has created confusion and division among the party supporters and members, as well as giving an advantage to the ruling Zanu PF party, which is fielding single candidates in most of the constituencies.
Former Nketa MP Kucaca Phulu, who filed nomination papers for candidates belonging to Tshabangu’s faction, said the party was riddled with fissures and needed dialogue and reconciliation.
“What is apparent today is that you have double candidates who have filed under the CCC party and that indicates that there are fissures within that party and 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 may move forward,” he said.
In Bulawayo, the recalled MPs namely Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Eric Gono (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Nichola Watson (Bulawayo South), Obert Manduna (Nketa) and Pashor Raphael Sibanda (Cowdray Park) successfully filed their papers. Tshabangu also fielded his candidates in these constituencies, namely, Charles Moyo (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Tendai Nyathi (Lobengula-Magwegwe), James Sithole (Bulawayo South), Ambrose Sibindi (Nketa) and Vusumuzi Chirwa (Cowdray Park).
Zanu PF will be represented by Dzingai Kamamba (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Menziwa Dube (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Raj Modi (Bulawayo South), Albert Mavhunga (Nketa), and Arthur Mujeyi (Cowdray Park).
The same scenario also played out in Binga North constituency where former Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda will battle it out with Judith Sibanda (CCC) and Chineka Muchimba (ZANU PF). In Lupane East constituency, former MP Bright Vanya Moyo (CCC) will contest for the seat with David Nyathi (CCC) and Phathisiwe Machangu (ZANU PF).
In Masvingo Ward 2, former councillor and mayoress Shantiel Chiwara will have to contend with Farai Chirairo (Independent), Benson Hwata (Zanu PF) and Rokie Kamuzonda (CCC).
While the recalled CCC MPs were filing their nominations Tshabangu urged the nomination court to reject papers filed by recalled CCC MPs and councillors.
Tshabangu said “all the expelled individuals” no longer have the modus operandi to use the party’s symbols or claim to represent the party as their membership was revoked and further confirmed by the High Court.
“The Nomination Court closes at 4pm today and ZEC has the administrative authority to enforce that court order. The court was clear on how party procedures go and we will be surprised if their papers are accepted on the basis of representing CCC. If ZEC accepts those individuals, we are not going to hesitate to seek recourse through the normal legal processes but for now. We await for 4pm,” said Tshabangu.
Meanwhile, Democratic Opposition Party leader Harry Peter Wilson was at the nomination court in Bulawayo, to help his four candidates file their papers to stand in the December 9 by-elections. He confirmed that his candidates were filing to stand in Nketa and Cowdray Park.
Elsewhere, Pardon Tapfumaneyi, a lawyer, filed papers as an independent candidate for Mpopoma Mzilikazi in Bulawayo. A former CCC member, he said he was ‘sidelined by the flawed process’ to choose CCC candidates for the August 23 elections.
Recalled CCC MP Febion Kufahakutizwi successfully filed nomination papers in Harare for Mabvuku/Tafara, as had Pedzai ‘Scott’ Sakupwanya (Zanu PF).
The pair were separated by 3,600 votes during the August 23 elections. An outfit, supposedly mimicking CCCC by calling itself Changu Chimuti Chakapinda Chapinda (CCCC) has also fielded a candidate to compete in the Mabvuku/Tafara by-election.