2023 ELECTIONS: CCC ripped apart as top leaders clash over sh0ck court ruling

Former CCC leader Nelson Chamisa

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has been fingered as the main culprit in the chaos bedevilling the party in Bulawayo following a High Court judgement which disqualified the party’s 12 Parliamentary candidates for submitting their nomination papers after the 4pm deadline.

The judgment has divided opinion within the CCC camp with some happy and blaming the whole process of choosing representatives on Mr Chamisa’s one-man band approach to politics while others are sympathising with the party.

The ruling did not just mean that Zanu-PF has already won three Parliamentary seats unopposed but the CCC has also lost six senatorial seats, six women quota and one youth quota seat. The beneficiaries are Zanu-PF candidates for Cowdray Park, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Cde Tendai Charuka of Bulawayo Central and Cde Raji Modi of Bulawayo South.

Ironically, the party is now inclining to the three individuals who filed their nomination papers to represent the party as double candidates while challenging the High Court ruling.

In the ruling, by Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Bongani Ndlovu said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) violated the provisions of the Electoral Act by not closing the court until midnight when they adjourned to the following day.

“Accordingly, ZEC is prohibited from including the names of the respondents in the preparation of ballot papers to be used in the 23 August general elections. Respondents shall jointly and severally pay the costs of suit.

“It is declared that the decision of the first respondent (ZEC), sitting as a Nomination Court at Bulawayo on 21 and 22 June 2023 to accept the respondents’ nomination papers and candidature in the elections scheduled for 23 August 2023 is declared null and void and is hereby set aside.”

In the aftermath of the ruling, despite the party declaring that they will appeal the judgement, its supporters in Bulawayo have squarely laid the blame on Mr Chamisa who they accused of dictatorial tendencies that were coming back to haunt the party.

Speaking after the High Court ruling, a senior member of the party, Mr Sengezo Tshabangu said Mr Chamisa must be held accountable for the challenges that transpired in Bulawayo, which led to its representatives submitting their nomination papers well after the closure of the nomination court.

“This all happened because we did not have a constitution, we did not have any leadership, nor did we have any structures. We cannot challenge Zanu-PF, an institution with all the structures and we hope to remove them from power, it’s a myth.

“Chamisa must account for what has happened in Bulawayo, he should tell us who he sent to come and impose the parliamentarian candidates. He took people who are not from Bulawayo to come and decide what happens in Bulawayo, this was all deliberate,” said Mr Tshabangu.

He further accused the party leader of allegedly imposing the parliamentary candidates, saying this was the first step towards the building of the chaos in the city.

“There are people who have sold out within the CCC ranks, Nelson Chamisa is the caretaker president, he was choosing people he wanted and imposing them on Bulawayo. This makes Bulawayo rise and demand answers on why this happened in Bulawayo only, why didn’t it happen in Masvingo, why didn’t it happen in Manicaland,” thundered Mr Tshabangu.

Acknowledging the judgement, outgoing CCC Member of the National Assembly for Nkulumane constituency and prominent Bulawayo lawyer, Mr Kucaca Phulu said their only hope was in the constituencies where there were double candidates.

“This judgment means that all the 12 CCC candidates across the constituencies in Bulawayo are out of the political race or the electoral race. These were the people that we were depending upon to really give Zanu-PF a run for its money.

“So now that they are out, Zanu-PF is likely to run through. We will see what happens where they are double candidates for CCC,” said Mr Phulu.

The three who filed their papers as double candidates are Mr Albert Mhlanga (Pumula constituency), Ms Soneni Moyo (Pelandaba-Tshabalala) and Mr Dingilizwe Tshuma (Entumbane-Njube).

The supporters have already embarked on a “morning after strategy which they had initially aimed at activating after the announcement of the Presidential results.

“According to the ‘morning after strategy’ members in the Matabeleland region have already started constituting structures with work on the party constitution already at an advanced stage.

“The morning after strategy is mainly to get rid of Chamisa using the structures and the party constitution. The High Court loss has played to the advantage of the morning after advocates as it has exposed Chamisa and his so-called strategic ambiguity strategy.

“In actual fact, party members in Bulawayo are celebrating because they feel Chamisa imposed all the candidates who were representing the party in the parliamentary elections, hence it is seen as if he is paying for all these impositions,” said the party source.

Responding to the High Court judgement, the party’s national spokesperson, Miss Fadzayi Mahere in a statement said they would be appealing the judgement, at the same time “invoke all legal, political and regional measures.”

High Court Bulawayo

“It is a matter of public record that the 12 affected candidates were duly nominated to contest for the House of Assembly in Bulawayo. The said candidates filed their nomination papers well within the time limits stipulated by our Electoral Law. This fact was admitted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which is the constitutional and administrative body mandated to receive nomination papers within the ambit of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

“The CCC will urgently file an appeal against today’s judgment as well as invoke all legal, political and regional measures available under Zimbabwe’s Constitution as well as the Sadc and African Union mechanisms to ensure that the ability of the citizens to choose their leaders as required by our supreme law is respected and duly safeguarded,” said Miss Mahere.

The party had a chaotic candidate selection process which saw some of its members being barred from contesting despite being the party public’s preferred candidates, as Mr Chamisa ensured that he imposed his preferred candidates to represent the party in the 23 August harmonised elections.

Before the High Court judgement, a grouping of some of the aggrieved members led by former Senator Matson Hlalo had already been allegedly mobilising and calling for the immediate expulsion of some senior members within the party who they blame for being behind the barring of some the members, including Bulawayo Senator and former deputy secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Mr Gideon Shoko and a former senator, Helen Tsepiso Zivira.

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