Chamisa dumps CCC…loyalists accuse him of betrayal

MDC Leader Nelson Chamisa. Picture: TIMESLIVE
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HARARE – The embattled opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has dramatically quit the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a party he created two years ago from the ashes of a once powerful MDC.

Chamisa, once a prominent figure in the fight against the ruling ZANU PF party, cited numerous challenges faced by the CCC since its formation two years ago. In his statement, he recounted the pre-election problems, electoral irregularities, intimidation, violence, and alleged attempts by the incumbent to consolidate authoritarianism.

However, the most shocking revelation came towards the end of the statement when Chamisa declared, “With immediate effect, I no longer have anything to do with CCC.” This unexpected announcement has left supporters and political analysts puzzled, questioning the motives behind Chamisa’s decision.

“Fellow citizens, this is to officially and under my hand inform you that, with immediate effect I no longer have anything to do with CCC,” Chamisa wrote in a lengthy statement posted on his X account.

The CCC party, which enjoys huge urban support, won 103 of the 280 seats in Zimbabwe’s main house of Parliament and swept most of the urban councils in last year’s general election.

However, several CCC lawmakers and councillors have been ejected from their seats by an official claiming to the party’s secretary general, but who Chamisa and the CCC say is an imposter.
Efforts to reverse the recalls in the courts have failed. The CCC accuses ZANU-PF, in power since independence in 1980, of using the courts to destroy the opposition.

ZANU-PF has dismissed the accusations, but has benefited from the recalls after winning most of the resultant by-elections.
“The CCC has to all intents and purposes been criminally handed over to ZANU-PF,” Chamisa said in his statement.
The ZANU-PF spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was not immediately clear if lawmakers and councillors loyal to Chamisa would quit their posts in solidarity, a move which would trigger a wave of by-elections.

Chamisa’s emergence as successor to long-time opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in 2018, triggered leadership battles and splits within Zimbabwe’s main opposition movement.

He formed the CCC in January 2022 after losing a series of court battles over control of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which first emerged in 2000 as the biggest threat to ZANU-PF’s stranglehold on power.

The 45-year-old lawyer and pastor, who rejected his narrow losses in the last two presidential elections to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, did not give details of his next move, but hinted at forming a new opposition movement.

The Advocate went on to explain his disillusionment with the CCC, accusing the party of being contaminated, bastardized, and hijacked by ZANU PF through the abuse of state institutions. He claimed that the CCC had been handed over to ZANU PF, rendering it an extension of the ruling party.

Chamisa alleged that an imposter, purportedly acting as the secretary general of CCC, had emerged with the backing of ZANU PF. This person, according to Chamisa, had been given extensive powers to unilaterally recall elected representatives, instruct Parliament, influence the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and manipulate the courts.

Political Analyst Nicholas Ncube said, “Chamisa’s sudden departure from CCC is a glaring betrayal of the opposition’s enduring struggle against ZANU PF. His actions raise serious doubts about his commitment to our cause, casting a shadow over our unity. It’s time for opposition members to reject Chamisa as a leader and earnestly seek a new, principled face to represent our aspirations in the political arena. A cohesive and unwavering leadership is crucial to counterbalance the ruling party’s influence and champion the citizens’ fervent desire for meaningful change.”

The opposition leader criticized the legal system, stating, “Our courts, the Speaker of parliament, and ZEC claim that they don’t know this common fact,” referring to the legitimate leadership of CCC.

The shocking announcement has left many wondering about the future of opposition politics in Zimbabwe. Some critics have accused Chamisa of betraying the opposition movement by seemingly capitulating to the ruling party. The timing of the exit, just days after the swearing-in of MPs and councillors, has added to the confusion surrounding Chamisa’s decision.

The departure of Chamisa from CCC has sparked speculation about potential divisions within the opposition and the impact on the upcoming political landscape in Zimbabwe.