CCC in turmoil as party factions file double candidates
The opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is facing a serious internal crisis as it has presented two sets of candidates for most of the seats that are up for grabs in the upcoming by-elections.
The by-elections, scheduled for December 9, will fill 17 council seats and 14 National Assembly seats in Bulawayo, Gwanda, Hwange, Masvingo and Harare that were left vacant after the recall of CCC MPs and councillors by Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the interim Secretary General of the party.
The faction loyal to Nelson Chamisa, the leader of CCC, has nominated the same candidates who were ousted by Tshabangu, while Tshabangu’s faction has put forward its own candidates who failed to make the cut during the CCC candidate selection process before the August elections.
Kucaca Phulu, a former Nketa MP who submitted nomination papers for Tshabangu’s candidates, admitted that the party was divided and called for dialogue and reconciliation among the members. He said: “The fact that there are two candidates under the CCC banner shows that there are cracks within the party and cracks are an opportunity for people to reach out to each other and engage and iron out whatever it is that is causing those divisions so that an organisation may move forward.”
In Bulawayo, the five MPs who were recalled by Tshabangu, namely Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Eric Gono (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Nichola Watson (Bulawayo South), Obert Manduna (Nketa) and Pashor Raphael Sibanda (Cowdray Park), managed to file their papers as CCC candidates. They will face competition from Tshabangu’s candidates, who are Charles Moyo (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Tendai Nyathi (Lobengula-Magwegwe), James Sithole (Bulawayo South), Ambrose Sibindi (Nketa) and Vusumuzi Chirwa (Cowdray Park). Zanu PF, the ruling party, will also contest these seats with its candidates, who are Dzingai Kamamba (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Menziwa Dube (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Raj Modi (Bulawayo South), Albert Mavhunga (Nketa), and Arthur Mujeyi (Cowdray Park).
A similar situation occurred in Binga North constituency, where Prince Dubeko Sibanda, the former CCC MP, will have to compete with Judith Sibanda (CCC) and Chineka Muchimba (ZANU PF). In Lupane East constituency, Bright Vanya Moyo, the former CCC MP, will challenge David Nyathi (CCC) and Phathisiwe Machangu (ZANU PF). In Masvingo Ward 2, Shantiel Chiwara, the former CCC councillor and mayoress, will vie for the seat with Farai Chirairo (Independent), Benson Hwata (ZANU PF) and Rokie Kamuzonda (CCC).
As the nomination court closed at 4pm on Wednesday, Tshabangu urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to reject the papers filed by the recalled CCC MPs and councillors, saying that they had lost their party membership and were barred from using the party’s symbols or representing the party by a High Court order. He said: “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.”