Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

CCC: Old wine in old wineskins

16 Feb 2022 at 05:29hrs | Views
On 24 January, former MDC Alliance faction leader, Nelson Chamisa announced the formation of a new opposition political party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

During the announcement, which was done through a media conference, Chamisa stressed how his new outfit was different from the MDC Alliance faction which he dissolved by forming a new party.

Political watchers and other stakeholders have, however, already pointed that the relationship between the old faction and the party is similar to that of the biblical case of wine and wineskins.

While Jesus Christ used the wine and wineskins metaphor to highlight an anomaly, Chamisa and his new outfit have already demonstrated that theirs is a case of putting old wine into an old wineskin which is cosmetically painted in yellow.

This was obviously meant to hoodwink the electorate into thinking that CCC is a totally different political outfit from the MDC Alliance faction, but nothing is further from the truth.

The situation on the ground and the behaviour of some of the senior CCC members already clearly indicate that nothing is new about the opposition outfit except the name, symbol and colour.

A tradition of shredding the internal constitution

On February 2, United States-based law lecturer and human rights lawyer, David Tinashe Hofisi, published on his blog, davidhofisi.blogspot.com, a post entitled CCC: Citizens at the Centre?

The post exposed the fact that the Nelson Chamisa-led outfit had nothing to show that it had the citizen at the centre of what it does. Hofisi showed how the new opposition party did not follow the MDC constitution in dissolving the MDC Alliance and forming its replacement.

By forming CCC, Chamisa and his hangers-on implicitly dissolved the MDC Alliance which was governed by the MDC constitution.

In the same way that Chamisa wrested the MDC-T from the rightful heiress, Dr Thokozani Khupe while his late predecessor, Morgan Tsvangirai's body still lay in a South African funeral parlour, he shredded the MDC charter by dissolving the MDC Alliance without following the provisions of the constitution that governed it.

According to Article 19 of the MDC constitution, the party can only be dissolved at a congress where the proposal is moved by one third of congress attendees/two thirds of provincial executive committees and adopted by three quarters of the total congress member.

Chamisa and his top hierarchy, which ironically is full of lawyers, dissolved the MDC Alliance by announcing a party at a media conference.

Trashing the MDC constitution is not new in the history of the party and its various formations and factions. Chamisa takes pride in having learnt opposition politics at Tsvangirai's feet and loves association with the late opposition leader.

One thing that Chamisa obviously learnt from Tsvangirai is that an MDC leader can disregard the party constitution with impunity. In 2005, Tsvangirai lost an internal poll on whether or not the MDC should participate in the October 2005 senatorial elections by 33-31 in favour of contesting the election.

He told the media that the debate was tied at 50-50, which included proxies sent by Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinjeh, alleging that these were not recognised by  party's then secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, giving him different inaccurate figures.

Based on this blatant falsehood, he insisted that the MDC would not participate in the elections, leading to the first split of the party that year.

The matter had been deliberated on by the MDC's top six, who failed to agree on the issue, resulting in the debate going down to the MDC National Council in line with the party's constitution.

As if that was not enough, when he fell out with Dr Khupe, Tsvangirai readily broke the internal charter again by appointing Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri in July 2016 as co-vice presidents of the party while his congress-elected deputy, Dr Khupe was still in her post.

Using the people

Chamisa's new party claims to place the people, who it terms citizens, at the centre of its activities. Ironically, when MDC Alliance faction members clearly saw that Chamisa was losing the MDC battle to MDC-T leader, Douglas Mwonzora, they advised him not to wait to be cornered by the latter into changing the party's name, but his information secretary, Fadzayi Mahere, showed them the middle finger arguing that "the people know who their leaders are".

It is clear that Chamisa and company use the people for own selfish political ends. In view of the political outfit's disregard for its own constitution, the question that arises is: which people were consulted in coming up with the new party name, colour and symbol?

The word "citizens" was just adopted so that the party could use it to appeal to fence sitters, disgruntled MDC members, civil society organisations among others to bolster its waning numbers.

The word "citizen" does not have anything to do with the welfare of the common Zimbabwean in Muzarabani, Rimuka or in Honde Valley.

This, again, is not new. For the past two decades, every election season many urban residents have been voting for candidates belonging to the MDC and its various factions and formations, but the party and its factions have been rewarding the electorate with no meaningful service delivery.

If anything, service delivery has been at its worst under Chamisa's watch as the leader of both the MDC Alliance faction and CCC.

While participating in a Twitter Space hosted last week by CCC activist, Hopewell Chin'ono, CCC Ward 17 councillor and Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume contradicted his secretary general, Chalton Hwende by strenuously arguing that his council was failing to deliver owing to alleged Government interference.

He went to the extent of arguing that during the Government of National Unity period, the MDC-T did not have any meaningful power.

It became very clear that Chamisa and company are not in politics to serve anyone except themselves. They are in politics for power and not to serve the unhappy Harare or Masvingo residents who have not had their refuse collected for many months.

Put differently, the role of the people or citizens in CCC politics is to build some scaffolding through their votes to enable the Western-backed opposition party to land State power.  

In this regard, Tsvangirai also provided "valuable" lessons to Chamisa. Many people who follow MDC politics will remember how Tsvangirai brazenly and shamelessly tried to impose his relative, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader, Dr Simba Makoni as a candidate in Makoni South constituency during the run up to the 2013 harmonised elections at a rally.

The attendees led by an elderly woman would have none of it and told him in his face. Tsvangirai dressed down the elderly lady speaking out and refusing to be used for his own selfish political ends.

The supporters prevailed when their choice, Pishayi Muchauraya, sailed through as the party's candidate for that year's elections. When Chamisa announced the formation of the party, he stressed that he and his colleagues were done with the MDC name and everything associated therewith.

Almost a month down the line, the world is yet to hear Chamisa and company denouncing the illegal sanctions imposed on innocent Zimbabweans by the US at the behest of Tsvangirai and his executive.

This means that CCC is prepared to continue using the people's suffering caused by the punitive measures as a weapon against Zanu-PF.

The new party's leadership still desperately hopes that someday the people of Zimbabwe will use the sanctions to revolt against their own Government thereby giving the opposition a chance to get into power.

Showing the middle finger

One of the most interesting things that the advent of the CCC brought is the new party's symbol. This comprises a finger pointing upwards. This has been interpreted as the extremist's symbol.

Others have also interpreted it as the new party leadership's way of showing Zimbabweans the middle finger.

A simple definition of the expression "showing the middle finger" is that it is an offensive gesture in which a person flips up their middle finger in a fist to show contempt or defiance.

For the past 22 years, the long-suffering residents of most of Zimbabwe's urban areas have seen service delivery levels deteriorate from poor to non-existent.

Despite voting for the CCC's predecessor, MDC formations and factions consistently, these people have been shown the middle finger especially by Chamisa and company as leader of both the MDC Alliance faction and CCC.

The CCC leadership is not even sorry about rewarding the urban electorate's support with wilful service withdrawal.

During a Twitter Space referred to earlier, most CCC executives and adherents such as Chalton Hwende and US-based lecturer, Dr Chipo Dendere respectively were agreed that Harare councillors from the MDC Alliance and CCC could serve the capital city's residents better.

However, Mafume incongruously stuck out like a sore thumb defending the awful service delivery in Harare using arguments like alleged Government interference.

He emphasised that opposition did not have power both during the Government of national unity era and in various councils.

Put differently, Mafume and CCC are not repentant about prioritising power over the welfare of the people who voted them into council.

They have imposed their own regime of service delivery sanctions against the residents as a way of fighting Government, which they blame for the messy state of the city.

Since he became mayor in September 2020, Mafume has never hidden his penchant to fight central Government over issues such as the transfer of the vehicle licensing function from the City of Harare to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA).

His task is not to serve Harareans. His mission is to use the mess created by his own party in Harare to turn the people against their own Government.

To Harare residents, the CCC symbol is, therefore, confirmation of a middle finger being shown at them by the party despite supporting it in its various forms for 22 years.  

Enemies of democracy

The circumstances of the renaming of the MDC Alliance faction presented a golden opportunity for Chamisa and company to throw away the hallowed concept of democracy with the proverbial bath water.

Democracy had become a pesky inconvenience to Chamisa, who is obsessed with consolidating power. The renaming of the MDC Alliance faction enabled him to scratch off the word "democracy" from the new party name so that no one will remind him of the need to be democratic whenever he strays.

Despite seizing a party which was built around democracy, Chamisa has never been a fan of democracy. Even as CCC prepared for the March 26 by-elections his anti-democracy spirit reared its ugly head.

Full story on www.herald.co.zw

He abused his concept of community endorsement of candidates to impose candidates of his own choice resulting in the fielding of double candidates in Masvingo Municipality Ward 4 and Bulawayo Municipality Ward 26.

In other words, he showed the so-called communities who endorsed their own preferred candidates the middle finger.

This is not new. In 2018, he attempted to impose mayors of his own choice in Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Masvingo and Victoria Falls notwithstanding the fact that the mayors had been democratically elected by other councillors on behalf of residents. During the run up to the MDC Alliance's May 2019 congress, Chamisa personally presided over night provincial conferences to ensure that his preferred candidates prevailed in defiance of democracy.

More of the same

What all the foregoing observations mean is that CCC means more of the same vices which party members, urban residents and the world at large have endured from the MDC under Tsvangirai and Chamisa. As Zimbabwe inches towards the March 26 by-elections and next year's harmonised elections, the electorate should remember that a new yellow colour may excite them but in the absence of a new leadership, thinking and mindset, voting the opposition means a perpetuation of the same MDC Alliance's poor stewardship of the country's urban spaces.

The electorate should know that voting for CCC means ensuring that the party's leadership continues to use them for its own narrow and selfish political ends. Voting for CCC means being used by the party in its quest for State power, which it does not deserve.

Source - The Herald
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.