HomeLocal NewsCCC: Analysts give the all-clear to new party

CCC: Analysts give the all-clear to new party

TINASHE KAIRIZA
OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa’s move to launch a new political party called the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) from the wreckage of splintered formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opens a new window of opportunity for the outfit to mount a formidable challenge against Movement for Democratic Change.

Chamisa, who lost the 2018 polls to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by a wafer-thin margin, unveiled the CCC in Harare  this week, underscoring that the new party, emerging from the rubbles of warring MDC formations, was stepping into the arena of national politics with a “new constitution, new focus and new philosophy”.

Ironically, the formation of the CCC, triggered by a legal wrangle over the leadership of the MDC-T and the MDC-Alliance deteriorated to the extent of Douglas Mwonzora and his deputy, Thokozani Khupe, attempting to expel each other from the party last week.

Chamisa’s legal battle with Mwonzora over the MDC-T was at a huge cost after the latter recalled dozens of MDC-A representatives from parliament. After wresting the leadership baton of the MDC-T from Khupe with political dexterity following the demise of its founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Chamisa entered the 2018 elections under the banner of MDC-A.

With the legal tussle over ownership of the MDC name now settled following formation of the CCC, Chamisa’s fresh challenge as president of the organisation lies in presenting sound policy alternatives while galvanising support from the citizens.

Chamisa also appears mindful that he must avoid the pitfalls which have entangled the opposition from unleashing its optimum energies towards unseating Zanu PF from government through constitutional means.

At the launch of the CCC, Chamisa emphasised, “We are starting a new party. Nothing to do with the past and nothing to do with yesterday. We are starting afresh. We will build from ground zero. We will start afresh.”

And yet by starting afresh, Chamisa’s position at the helm of the CCC must inspire confidence within the long-suffering masses that he will steer the ship abiding by the dictates of its constitution while also enunciating practical solutions to remedy Zimbabwe’s full blown multifaceted crisis.

At the heart of the CCC’s challenges are solutions towards reviving Zimbabwe’s comatose economy, creating employment, curbing rampant corruption, settling the country’s external debt estimated at US$22 billion and addressing the country’s checkered human rights record.

While doing so, Chamisa must also lead with distinction, constantly being the glue that keeps the new outfit solid and united to avoid splintering into various formations like the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai did.

In so doing, he must therefore get rid of dictatorial tendencies that have often entangled the opposition in its quest to unseat Zanu PF.

The forthcoming by-elections slated for March 26, necessitated by the expulsion of MDC-A representatives, then fronted by Chamisa from parliament will present a litmus test for CCC to showcase its leadership capabilities and an opportunity to assert its authenticity as a vibrant entity free from name squabbles besetting MDC outfits.

Next year’s elections will also present the same hurdles which lie ahead in the CCC political path. It would also be imperative for CCC to go on a nationwide mass mobilisation campaign reaching the rural electorate in its intended bid to mobilise six million votes ahead of the 2023 election.

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza contends that while the new name of CCC was “meaningful”, the political party should avoid the pitfall of creating a personality cult out of Chamisa, a situation which inhibited the MDC at the height of Tsvangirai’s leadership at the helm of opposition politics.

“The main challenge for the new party is to avoid personalisation of the brand to which there is a precedent set during the Tsvangirai days.

“They (CCC) have to work on strengthening their structures and organisational capacities,” Mandaza said.

Key among the CCC’s priorities, Mandaza underscored the need for the new Chamisa-led outfit to exert pressure on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to “speed” up voter registration while taking advantage of Zanu PF’s glaring “failures and failings”.

“They (CCC) must put pressure on the authorities (Zec) to speed up voter registration. Generally in politics, the focus is on getting the incumbent out. They must do this by highlighting the failures and failings of Zanu PF. They must do so by drawing holes on the incumbent,” Mandaza said.

Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the University of London, said while the new name of the party rhymed well and evoked memories of the “change” that the opposition has been agitating for, the CCC needed to present sound policies which would be the tonic towards setting Zimbabwe’s fragile economy on a firm recovery path. The strategy would entail re-engaging with multilateral lending institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Chinese banks.

“The choice of CCC is good; three letters just like MDC, the C resonates as a reminder of the C in MDC, and C also stands for Chamisa. All in all, well chosen.

“But the test will be in the March by-elections, whether the new party has organisational infrastructure sufficient to mount a full challenge. More likely it will be a test as to what it needs to build upon to be fully operational and be competitive in the national elections to come,” Chan postulated.

“But he needs clear economic policies that are thought through. They need to be attractive to the self-starting entrepreneur at the bottom of the current heap, but also make sense to the IMF. And he needs to present a negotiating strategy with regard to China and Chinese banks,” he added.

Chan further noted that Chamisa must project a plan for regeneration and also, and this is unavoidable, as Hichilema has found in Zambia, repayment of Zimbabwe’s massive debt.”

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