Strategic Ambiguity: Chamisa scores own goals

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HARARE – The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party’s nomination process at the Harare Magistrate Court was marred by confusion and chaos.

The process extended beyond the court’s closing time of 16:00, with candidates still finalizing their nominations. Some candidates claimed to have filed their nomination papers despite the party spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, stating that there were challenges regarding the required signatories.

The CCC’s candidate nomination process only gained momentum after 16:00 when most candidates were cleared by the party’s election officer, Ellen Shiriyedenga, inside the court after the doors had closed. In contrast, the ruling party, ZANU-PF, had finished filing their candidates’ nomination papers by 11:00.

By 18:00, the CCC was facing disarray as some members were being turned away for late submissions. One candidate, Takudzwa Ngadziore, the youth quota representative, was turned away initially but later managed to file his nomination papers with the intervention of Chamisa’s lawyer, Thabani Mpofu.

In another incident, Freddy Masarirevhu, who was supposedly the selected candidate for Chitungwiza St Mary’s, was rumored to have been replaced by Brighton Mazhinda. However, during the filing of papers, Masarirevhu’s name was called, and it was discovered that he was at home, unaware that he had been considered.

Before the chaos unfolded, Fadzayi Mahere had assured that the party had met the requirements demanded by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) despite taking months to conduct the selection process and ensure candidates met the necessary criteria. Mahere attributed the delays to the need for ZEC’s confirmation of specimen signatures, which were quickly addressed through correspondence with the elections directorate.

Speaking at the Magistrate’s court, Maxwell Mavhunga, the outgoing CCC MP for Chitungwiza South, downplayed the party’s lack of preparedness, stating that the process was smooth and without complaints against ZEC. However, there was confusion regarding the signatures submitted to ZEC, as they did not match the signatures on the forms, potentially causing further complications.

Charlton Hwende, the Kuwadzana East MP, attributed the slow process to the high number of nominees being served by ZEC and dismissed the claims about signature issues as hearsay.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that CCC had failed to field several ward candidates in Zibagwe, Murewa, Takawira Rural District Council, Gwanda 1 and 2, Insiza ward 14 and 20.