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Nelson Chamisa aims for the presidency in the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe | News24

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    The leader of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Nelson Chamisa, said the party's ultimate goal for the upcoming general elections on 23 August was Zimbabwe's presidency.

    In 2018, Chamisa was a close second in a disputed poll, with 45.07%, to Zanu-PF's Emmerson Mnangagwa with 51.44%.

    This was the first post-Morgan Tsvangirai vs Robert Mugabe duel, which had dominated the country since the turn of the century.

    With Mugabe openly supporting Chamisa, after the November 2017 coup by Mnangagwa and the army, the election saw record votes for both sides.

    This time, Chamisa is more focused on stopping Mnangagwa from seeking a second and last term.

    "We are a presidential republic, and our campaign is going to be basically a presidential campaign.

    "Our focus is not even Parliament. We have been in Parliament for a long time, but that is not our station of choice at the moment. Our station of choice is government," he said.

    With an element of confidence, he added: "Mnangagwa is a courageous man, but decency must teach him that he should hand over to the next government."

    PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NOMINATION PAPERS FILED!!Have just successfully filed papers at ZEC. It’s all systems go! A New Great Zimbabwe is loading. pic.twitter.com/Wchzah42ie

    — nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) June 20, 2023

    In 2018, Zanu-PF had more than a two-thirds majority in Parliament. That presented an easy avenue for it to push for legislation, some of it an onslaught on the opposition and democracy.

    Methembe Hadebe, a Zimbabwean historian and biographer of politicians, said for Chamisa to ignore Parliament was a bad strategy.

    "If he wins the presidency, and he's without a sound following in Parliament, he can be impeached as soon as possible. It's the same for Mnangagwa; if he has no huge following in Parliament, if he wins, Zanu-PF might struggle to get away with what it enjoyed in this current Parliament.

    "The parliamentary election should be more important than the presidency, to be honest, because it's about collective work, not individual glory," he said.

    New-look party

    The CCC  presented a new line-up of candidates, with numerous opposition veterans reassigned to the senate and local authorities.

    The CCC has its roots in the Movement for Democratic Change, which was formed in 1999.

    The MDC, under the leadership of the late Tsvangirai, drew its members from workers' union groups, student politics and civic society.

    Twenty-four years later, after numerous splits, some of the key founding members are with the CCC.

    They are Professor Welshman Ncube, David Coltart, Tendai Biti, Chamisa, Henry Madzorera, Job Sikhala, Innocent Gonese and Daniel Fortune Molokele, to mention a few.

    Critics call it a secret society.

    Besides Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, the spokesperson, her deputy, Gift Ostallos Siziba, and Amos Chibaya, the party's organising secretary, there are no other set positions.

    Only Chibaya is from the old school.

    Chamisa defended this as a strategy to keep infiltrators out.

    The absence of Tendai Biti from the parliamentary list suggested there had been a fallout with Chamisa.

    ALSO READ | Upcoming Zimbabwe general elections to run at cost of R291m, says ZEC

    His replacement, Allan "Rusty" Markham, last week, lamented how he was being treated racially in Parliament and at party level.

    Talking to journalists about Biti, Chamisa said there was a bigger role waiting.

    "You will see Mr Biti in government. He's going to play a pivotal role in the campaign we are waging very soon because he's part of the government," he said.

    Ncube will be deployed to the Senate; Coltart has been deployed to the Bulawayo local authority elections; Madzorera will be vying for a local authority seat in Kwekwe; and Gonese will not take part in the elections.

    Job Sikhala has been in remand prison for more than a year on a political charge. In his place, there's Innocent Zvaipa, an uncle of the late Tsvangirai.

    Madzorera, a former health minister under the 2009–2013 Government of National Unity, said he was at peace with his assignment.

    "Most people think that going from being a senator to a councillor is a climb down - but, actually, being a councillor is a more important job than being a senator and being a National Assembly member," he told local online publication Newzimbabwe.com.

    The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


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