The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a Zimbabwean political party led by Nelson Chamisa 1, is facing a crisis of legitimacy and credibility over its candidate selection process for the upcoming general elections. Some of the party’s members and supporters are outraged by the nomination of some candidates who are accused of corruption, criminality and incompetence.
The party held a citizens caucus meeting on Saturday in all provinces to confirm its election nominees, claiming to be a citizen-centered and democratic process involving various stakeholders. However, some of the nominees have sparked controversy and backlash from the public and other party members.
In Bulawayo, current Bulawayo Metropolitan MP, Jasmine Toffa was ousted by newcomer Minenhle Gumede, who will vie for the Bulawayo North parliamentary seat if she makes it to the final list. Gumede defeated Toffa as well as CCC Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza and Elvis Mujeri 2. But some residents in Bulawayo North have questioned Gumede’s suitability and integrity, alleging that she has links to ZANU-PF and has been involved in land scams.
Another nominee who was disqualified was Gift Banda, the Njube -Lobengula MP. Sources claimed that he tried to force his way into the race and allegedly bussed people but the party decided to drop him 2. Banda has denied the allegations and said he will appeal the decision. He accused some party leaders of being biased and undemocratic.
Former Deputy Mayor and Ward 3 councillor, Tinashe Kambarami, who faced legal challenges during his tenure in the Bulawayo City Council, also failed to secure a nomination. Sources said that he might be among those who will file an appeal 2. Kambarami said he was disappointed by the outcome and blamed some party officials of sabotaging his chances.
The nomination process has also divided voters in Victoria Falls, where Ward 9 council hopeful Vusumuzi Sibanda, popularly known as Malaika in the resort town, stands accused of running a drug and illegal human trafficking syndicate between the town and Beitbridge 3. Some residents have expressed their dismay at Sibanda’s nomination and said they will not vote for him.
“Candidates who were dissatisfied with Saturday’s outcome might file their appeals within seven days before the final list is made public,” said reliable party sources 2.
“They won’t announce anything within that period as we have seven days to make appeals. It makes sense that there won’t be any announcement this week. They can’t announce who made it before these appeal processes are done, it’s only logical,” said the sources 2.
The CCC is expected to announce its final list of candidates on June 21, when the nomination court will sit at the High Court to register candidates. The country is due to hold general elections on August 23, 2023.
The CCC was formed in January 2022 after Chamisa lost the squabbles over the party name “MDC Alliance” to Douglas Mwonzora. The party adopted yellow as its new color and raising the index finger as its new symbol 1. The party claims to be a social democratic movement that seeks to bring change and transformation to Zimbabwe.
However, some analysts have cast doubt on the party’s prospects and popularity, especially after it lost nine parliamentary seats to ZANU-PF in the March 2022 by-elections 1. The party also faces allegations of violence, intimidation and rigging from some of its members and rivals 3.
The CCC’s candidate selection process has exposed the party’s internal divisions and weaknesses, as well as its lack of transparency and accountability. The party risks losing more support and credibility if it fails to address the concerns and grievances of its members and supporters. The party also needs to convince the public that it has competent and credible candidates who can deliver on its promises of change.