JUST IN: Things not looking good for Nelson Chamisa’s CCC ahead of 2023 watershed elections

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The events that are taking place within CCC coupled with the party’s defeat by Zanu PF in the by-elections held in Binga, Gweru and Mberengwa over the weekend show that things are falling apart in the Western-backed opposition party.

Social media has been awash with tweets and posts by people urging the Nelson Chamisa-led CCC party to hold an elective congress, craft a constitution and put in place structures, but the calls fell on deaf ears as Chamisa fears that his internal opponents such as his deputy Tendai Biti will take advantage of the congress to position themselves to wrestle control of the party from him.

Chamisa argues that holding an elective congress would be playing into Zanu PF’s hands as the ruling party would allegedly use the meeting to infiltrate the opposition outfit.

Interestingly, although he is yet to hold a congress, last month he claimed that some big wigs within his party were being lured by Zanu PF.

This seemed to confirm that infiltration was not the reason for not holding a congress.

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Some argue that the party’s failure to register big electoral wins over Zanu PF is as a result of CCC’s poor grassroots mobilisation.

They further posit that CCC’s perceived strength is aided by the economic challenges that the country is facing.

Sanctions have also worked in favour of the opposition as the party uses the results of the measures on innocent Zimbabweans to criticise President Mnangagwa, Zanu PF and Government.

This means that the party has nothing meaningful to offer the electorate and survives on protest votes.

Recent indications from that party’s interim secretary general, Chalton Hwende, that he is abandoning the outfit’s Mugwazo rural mobilisation programme because of negative comments from fellow CCC members points to dark days ahead.

Mugwazo was CCC’s initiative meant to penetrate rural constituencies which are largely Zanu PF strongholds.

Due to lack of traction born of internal ructions, the initiative ended up being a channel to get funding from the diaspora with no meaningful results on the ground.

Hwende, who had become the social media face of the campaign, this week claimed that he had been visiting his Mhondoro rural area at own expense to enable CCC to penetrate the area.

Hwende’s moves were not received well by other CCC members who he said took to social media to blast him.

As a result, Hwende used his Twitter handle this week to announce that he would cease all Mugwazo activities, citing criticism he continuously received from fellow members.

The onslaught against Hwende is not surprising.

In September, Chamisa tweeted with reference to Hwende: “Who is (secretary general) SG? We have no such titles in citizens’ movement. We are all change champions. We are a great family.”

This marked the beginning of Hwende’s status as a marked person in the CCC.

Those who are familiar with Chamisa’s politics already know that Hwende is as good as already out of the CCC with people like Biti and Sikhala likely to follow him ahead of next year’s polls as the grouping’s leader seeks to consolidate and ring-fence his stranglehold on the outfit.

Some people view Chamisa as someone who is trying to personalise the CCC.

They buttress their arguments by citing the fact that nearly a year after the “formation” of the CCC most party senior members continue to hold their positions in an acting capacity.

Interestingly, while party members are barred from referring to Hwende as SG, spokesperson Fadzai Mahere’s twitter bio describes her as if she is a substantive functionary and Chamisa is yet to lift a finger in protest.

CCC supporters are beginning to lose hope.

Hopewell Chin’ono, who views himself as the CCC godfather and a critic of Zanu PF and Government, has joined those who want the CCC to be better led.

Chin’ono, who always criticises any Government programme and, in the process, clandestinely campaigning for CCC dominance, now has questions over chances for CCC winning the 2023 elections.

In a tweet while reviewing the results of the by-elections referred to earlier, Chin’ono showed that he has given up hope of CCC winning 2023 elections.

Chin’ono tweeted that the CCC got 645 votes in Gweru and Zanu PF got 300 in a CCC stronghold.

He pointed out that the inroads that Zanu PF made in the CCC’s urban strongholds during the by-elections raised questions over whether or not the CCC could win 2023 elections.

Chin’ono believes that for the CCC to remain a political force to reckon with, it must not give Zanu PF any chance of grabbing support in its strongholds.

However, the results of the by-elections proved that it would be a mammoth task for the CCC to unseat Zanu PF.

Zanu PF’s 556 to 472 votes win in an opposition-dominated Gweru Municipality Ward 5 sent shockwaves to those who are emotionally invested in Chamisa and the CCC such as Chin’ono.

This has put Chin’ono and ilk in panic and frustration as they have always thought that the CCC would give Zanu PF a good run for its money, especially in urban constituencies and wards.

As if the Gweru victory was not enough, Zanu PF trounced the opposition in Binga Rural District Council Ward 20, where it garnered 945 votes to CCC’s 576.

It is common knowledge that Zanu PF has found it difficult to win elections in Binga since the advent of the opposition MDC/CCC.

These developments that saw Zanu PF winning in urban Gweru and Binga just show that the CCC is standing on politically shaky ground.

Perhaps the most telling result of the weekend by-election is the one from Mberengwa Rural District Council where the electorate “banned” the CCC from rural constituencies by giving Zanu PF a 726 vote victory to the CCC’s 81.

This showed that the opposition is in for serious trouble with Zanu PF in both rural and urban constituencies and wards.

The Mberengwa result also showed that the Mugwazo programme did not make many inroads in rural constituencies.

If Chamisa and company were fooling themselves that they can successfully participate in the 2023 polls without structures, the by-election results demonstrated to them that no meaningful election campaign can be mounted in the absence of structures to undergird their mobilisation efforts.

Given the foregoing sorry state of the CCC, Zanu PF has way better prospects of winning the 2023 plebiscite than the opposition and this reflects very negatively on Chamisa.

It foregrounds his very poor leadership pedigree.

Lack of clear structures and direction in the CCC has always been a cause for concern to its supporters. Currently, Chamisa is at loggerheads with his party’s legislators who benefited from a US$40 000 parliamentary housing loan.

Chamisa is against the idea of them accepting the loans, yet the legislators feel that they should benefit from the loans, arguing that they are entitled to them.

The conflict between the legislators and their leader is a manifestation of the lack of proper leadership of the party and Chamisa’s autocratic ways.

It is as obvious as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west that, given the serious ructions in the party, the CCC is likely to split into two or three factions and formation before its 24 January 2023 first anniversary.

For as long as the CCC remains structureless and continues to operate without a constitution to guide its members on how to manage their affairs, the outfit is going to continue on the current free fall trajectory.

It is going to roll down the precipice into the periphery of Zimbabwe’s political landscape.

— Herald


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