HARARE – The exiled former Tourism minister under Robert Mugabe’s government Walter Mzembi has given the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) a good chance of winning the 2023 elections, and he also criticised the party leadership and says it lacks the courage of the late opposition supremo Morgan Tsvangirai.
He, however, warned local daily that Zanu-PF will not surrender power easily, and that the ruling party had “solid structures” to mount an effective campaign ahead of the polls.
“Can they (CCC) win? Yes, they can… The ground for that to happen is as fertile as it was in 2008, but they probably lack the courage of Tsvangirai. He was not a lawyer and, therefore, his calculation of risk was different,” Mzembi said.
“If you want to win a battle emphatically, you change battleground like the eagle when it is preying on a snake, it picks it up, spins it in the air where it has no balance. The current team love the courts, but then again they are lawyers, yet they forget who is in charge of the courts.”
The Nelson Chamisa-led CCC contested for the first in the March 26 by-elections after its launch in January and won 19 of
the contested 28 parliamentary seats. But Zanu-PF retained its rural constituencies.
Analysts said the polls were a precursor to the 2023 elections.
“A discipleship of lawyers in the executive can be a source of paralysis, but then again you have got to love their temerity, branding and unpredictability. On the other hand, Zanu-PF, in my estimation, is based on being battle-hardened, foxy and its mass mobilisation strategies often dismissed as vote-buying, particularly in rural areas, will not go without a real hard fight,” Mzembi added.
“Its presidential candidate may be older and less appealing, but it has solid structures that outperform its rivals, notwithstanding who leads.”
Mzembi also said the late President Robert Mugabe missed a “Mandela” moment by staying in power too long until he was ousted in 2017.
“Mugabe had all the intelligence on the impending events, but somehow he was in denial. He never imagined his liberation war colleagues would take him out by force given their journey back in the struggle together and how they had taken care of each other,” Mzembi said.
“On reflection, he also overstayed his welcome, and it’s a lesson to us all on legacy management. You got to leave when people still want you, but power is sweet, you really have to be a ‘Mandela’ to leave the stage after one term!”