BY PRIDE MUZARABANI/PROBLEM MASAU
OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) yesterday said it would not be stampeded into holding an early elective congress by some Zanu PF elements and exiled G40 members it claims harbour sinister motives.
After CCC leader Nelson Chamisa said all party members were holding interim positions some exiled G40 members, including former ministers Jonathan Moyo and Walter Mzembi have been vocally agitating for a congress.
Chamisa launched the CCC party in February after MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora claimed the MDC Alliance name and symbols following his party’s seizure of alliance headquarters with the help of the army and police.
Interim CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said calls for a congress by the former ruling Zanu PF members betrayed their ulterior motives.
“We will not be pushed into a corner by those who have different priorities. Zimbabweans have suffered enough and all citizens’ hands must be on deck to fight for lasting change and transformation for the nation,” Mahere told NewsDay.
“Our priority at the moment is making sure we do the work to win Zimbabwe for change in 2023 and form the next government, not the pursuit of internal positions.
“We are all change champions who have been tasked with working to mobilise the masses to register to vote, vote and defend the vote next year.”
Exiled G40 elements backed Chamisa ahead of the 2018 general elections to spite the ruling Zanu PF party.
Interim CCC’s deputy national spokesperson Gift Siziba attracted a backlash from the former Zanu PF members when he indicated that the opposition party has no immediate intentions to hold the congress.
In response to Siziba, Moyo said: “Special congresses are common in politics. Before a general election, a new party can have a special congress to launch itself, its constitution, structures, interim leadership and election manifesto!
“The CCC is saying no vacancies and no congress of any kind. CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) wants to infiltrate us; maybe a people’s convention, get the nomenclature right. The public eye: but a citizen’s convention is better nomenclature. Wait, CIO can only infiltrate a congress; not a convention since it’s American, right.”
Mzembi, who is in self-imposed exile following the late former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster in the November 2017 coup, quipped: “I am not having a congress in my house, I am the head of the family!”
However, political analyst Alex Magaisa said CCC was better off focusing its energies on having a constitution, adding that the debate surrounding the congress was a “reflection of the unsureness that results from a constitutional void”.
“If CCC wants to transform the political discourse, it has the great opportunity to do so via its constitution. Presently, the discourse around ‘congress’ festers because that is what people are accustomed to from their days in Zanu PF and the MDC. That is all they know,” Magaisa said.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya warned that a congress could leave CCC deeply divided ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Congresses, especially those convened for leadership selection, are generally divisive. And the mere fact that ‘enemy camps’ are advising means they want to infiltrate and influence congressional processes,” Ngwenya said.
“Congresses weaken parties, especially on the eve of national elections. People know their leaders already. Congress is not a condition for electoral participation.”
Another analyst Effie Ncube said: “The CCC leadership has to take into account issues of unity, stability and marketing before the watershed elections.”
However, analyst Vivid Gwede said the party needed to have an interim leadership endorsed by its supporters before the elections.
“There have been well-meaning concerns that the party needs to at least have an endorsed caretaker leadership to avoid the impression of absence of form, structure, representatives and democratic accountability,” Gwede said.