Bitter infighting erupts in CCC as leadership crisis deepens, sweet news for Welshman, Biti and Kore


THE beleaguered Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has been plunged into further turmoil as internal divisions and bitter infighting have come to the fore, following the submission of the list of Senators and Proportional Representation candidates to replace those that were recalled by the party’s interim secretary-general, Mr Sengezo Tshabangu.

A couple of weeks ago the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) gazetted the CCC list which saw Mr Tshabangu as one of the candidates nominated to fill vacancies in the Senate under Matabeleland North Province. Other candidates nominated to fill vacancies in the Senate include lawyer Kucaca Phulu, Lilian Mlilo, Linda Sibanda and Collet Ndhlovu all from Bulawayo. Maxwell Mdhluri comes in for Manicaland while Sam Chapfudza fills in the Masvingo vacancy.

In Matabeleland North, Mr Tshabangu, Teresa Kabondo and Grace Mampande complete the Senate list. The list has, however, ignited controversy within the party, leading to intense name-calling and bitter accusations among its ranks. Some members have even gone as far as boldly threatening that they would “send” lightning to their rivals.

In a WhatsApp voice note which emerged last week, former Pumula legislator, Mr Albert Mhlanga claims to be part of the initial group with Mr Tshabangu that approached former leader Mr Nelson Chamisa and took him to task on the imposition of candidates to represent the party in last year’s harmonised elections.

It is the same group that initiated the recalls from Parliament, claiming they were targeting people they believed had been imposed by Mr Chamisa. In the voice note, Mr Mhlanga accuses lawyer and former Nkulumane MP, Mr Phulu of imposing himself on the list of Senators and also hijacking their movement.

“I hope I find you well honourable lawyer Phulu, I remember you once tried to call me and I ignored your call because I was so angry and I was going to tell you off. I always tell you of this tendency of yours, where you go behind my back, you claiming it’s (Tendai) Biti, but I know it’s you, to ensure I do not get onto the list of Senatorial candidates. I do not know why you are fighting with me but I am also prepared to take these three years fighting with you, be prepared for that fight. How we fight, I do not know. You might be a lawyer and win every legal battle in court but you will never win the Mhlanga war, with my little money I am prepared to buy lightning from anyone selling it and that lightning strikes you,” said Mr Mhlanga in the voice note recorded in isiNdebele.

Contacted for comment, Mr Mhlanga confirmed that indeed it was him in the voice note, saying he stood by the sentiments.

He accused Mr Phulu of hijacking their project and then sidelining them so that he could bulldoze his way back to Parliament for personal gain.

“We are the CCC whose leader is Mr Chamisa, the idea we had after the controversy surrounding the party’s primary elections was to engage Mr Chamisa and come up with some form of solution. When that failed we decided to formalise the party, where together with the likes of Mbuso Siso and Collet Ndhlovu, to mention but a few, decided to work on issues like the party constitution. Phulu was approached and he flatly refused to be a double candidate or even to be our lawyer. We then got our own lawyers to represent us, when Phulu realised that we were scoring legal victories he requested to assist the lawyers, that is how he got into the picture,” said Mr Mhlanga.

The former legislator further claimed that after Mr Phulu got himself into the legal team, he then sidelined them and was now only dealing with Mr Tshabangu.

“It was honestly shocking. They were now always in court without even consulting us, they were recalling people willy nilly, which was not what our intentions were. Mr Phulu made sure he separated us from Mr Tshabangu, even the Senate and Proportional Representation list, these were all drafted by Phulu, where he made sure he bulldozes his way to Senate and ignoring the list which we had all drafted. This is not the first time that Mr Phulu has done this, when we formed the MDC-Alliance, he did exactly what he is doing now, that shows you the person he is, which is why I am saying better he be struck by lightning, that is how angry I am,” said Mr Mhlanga.

Mr Phulu on the other hand distanced himself from the accusations that were levelled at him by Mr Mhlanga, saying he was not aware what he was talking about.

“Yes I heard Mr Mhlanga’s voice note but to be honest, I don’t even know what Mhlanga is talking about, if I knew, maybe I would give an informed comment but he is just babbling and saying nothing at all. His accusations do not even make any sense at all,” he said.

Meanwhile, the CCC held a Press conference in Bulawayo yesterday where it was announced that Mr Welshman Ncube was the leader of the party for the next 90 days.

He will rotate with Mr Tendai Biti who will do another 90 days with Lynette Karenyi-Kore following after, in a rotational format until congress to elect a substantial leadership following the resignation of Mr Chamisa from the party. Insiders accused the new leadership of grabbing power from the Mr Tshabangu team that had pushed Mr Chamisa out of the picture.

Mr Tshabangu was part of the interim leadership of the party, announced recently, but was not included in the new set up announced yesterday. The leadership committee of the party that was initially announced by the Mr Tshabangu team has Dingilizwe Tshuma, former legislator for Entumbane-Njube constituency in Bulawayo as chair, Mhlanga (former Pumula MP, Bulawayo deputy mayor and committee’s deputy), Tshabangu (secretary-general), Khaliphani Phugeni (information), Sikhululekile Moyo (interim chairperson for women), Nomvula Mguni (ex-proportional representation MP), Mbuso Siso (treasurer) and Benoni Ncube (youth).

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