The CCC opposition party is facing internal turmoil following a murky and controversial candidate selection process ahead of August elections.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa has struggled to contain the fallout from the process, which saw some big name party figures like vice president Tendai Biti reportedly lose out on their constituencies.
CCC only announced “top three preferred candidates” in constituencies instead of outright winners, a move critics say was meant to mask losses by senior figures and avoid fractures in the party.
When asked about the selection at a press conference, Chamisa avoided naming outright winners, claiming the candidates announced were the “people’s preferred choices”. He said those who lost would be given roles in the party.
However, sources claim Biti lost his Harare East seat to Allan Markham, while Eric Murai reportedly fell short in Highfield. CCC officials refused to say what would happen if Biti or Murai failed to represent the party in elections.
In some constituencies, incumbent legislators reportedly faced challengers or even lost out completely during the CCC candidate selection process.
In Chitungwiza, incarcerated Job Sikhala’s son Job Junior was named in the top three candidates for Zengeza West. However, he is said to have ultimately lost to Innocent Zvaipa and Darlington Musonza.
In St. Mary’s constituency, the current legislator Unganai Tarusenga was not even among the announced top three candidates. Brighton Mazhindu, Hillary Gwata and Freddy Masarirevhu were listed instead.
However, in Gweru’s Mkoba North, Amos Chibaya was nominated to represent CCC without any challengers. Meanwhile in Mbizo constituency, top party figure Settlement Chikwinya’s name was listed alongside Corban Madzivanyika as one of the top three candidates.
Political analysts slammed the opaque selection process, with some calling it undemocratic and saying it showed Chamisa’s tight grip on the party. They warned it could split CCC’s vote in the elections.
CCC officials like Felix Mafa defended the process, claiming the “true candidates know themselves” and the official list would only be published on nomination day. But other analysts said announcing multiple candidates was a risky strategy that could divide the party.
The messy candidate selection exposes internal divisions and a lack of transparency in CCC, threatening to undermine its credibility as an alternative to ZANU PF ahead of the crucial elections. How Chamisa handles the discontent within his ranks will determine whether CCC can unitedly challenge the ruling party’s long grip on power.