In a development that highlights the intricate dynamics of Zimbabwean politics, the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is set for an unusual internal contest in the forthcoming local authority by-elections scheduled for February next year.
In what could be seen as a reflection of the complexities within the CCC, two party candidates will be pitted against each other in several wards. A notable instance is in the Chegutu Ward 5 municipal election, where CCC’s Gloria Kawadza and Alice Kundhlande are both vying for the same seat, alongside Zanu-PF’s Alice Mavetera.
Similar scenarios are set to unfold across various wards. In Chegutu Ward 9, CCC candidates Pamela Ngaru and Loice Tigirigi will face off, competing with a Zanu-PF candidate and an independent. The pattern repeats in Chinhoyi Ward 9, where CCC’s Nicholas Phiri and Ninion Varandeni are contesting, alongside Zanu-PF’s Edward Besu.
This trend of fielding multiple candidates from CCC extends to several wards in Chinhoyi, Chitungwiza, Gweru, Kwekwe, Marondera, and Mutare. This situation arises following a series of recalls initiated by CCC’s interim secretary general, Sengezo Tshabangu, against elected opposition representatives in both parliamentary and local authorities. These recalls have triggered the by-elections, with Tshabangu fielding his favored candidates and the Nelson Chamisa-led CCC faction deploying ousted representatives to reclaim their seats.
An intriguing aspect of these elections is the use of Nelson Chamisa’s image by both factions within CCC as their electoral symbol, leading to his face appearing on the ballot papers for different candidates.
These parliamentary and municipal by-elections, set for February 3, have become a focal point in Zimbabwean politics. The CCC accuses the ruling Zanu-PF party of orchestrating a plot to undermine the opposition through Tshabangu’s actions. These actions are perceived as a significant threat to CCC’s representation in parliament and its influence in key urban councils. Tshabangu insists that his actions are independent, aimed at correcting what he views as the improper imposition of candidates by Chamisa ahead of the August 2023 elections. The Zanu-PF has categorically denied any involvement in these internal conflicts within the CCC.