62 CCC meetings banned in a year
ZIMBABWE’S main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) has had 62 of its meetings banned since the party’s formation a year ago, showing the government’s growing intolerance.
This is according to party leader Nelson Chamisa, who contested the 2018 elections on an MDC-Alliance ticket and rebranded his party to CCC on 22 January 2022 as he prepared for by-elections held on 26 March last year.
The rebranding came after MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora moved to claim the MDC-A name and assets.
Mwonzora took advantage of a 2020 Supreme Court ruling which recognised Thokozani Khupe as the legitimate successor of the late founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and interim leader of the party.
The ruling determined that MDC-Alliance leader Chamisa’s rise to the party’s presidency was irregular. Khupe then lost the party leadership to Mwonzora during an extraordinary congress held in Harare in 2021.
In an attempt to enforce loyalty, Mwonzora recalled some councillors and legislators who remained loyal to Chamisa, eventually leading to by-elections being held in several constituencies and wards.
A total of 28 constituencies and 122 council wards were vacant by January 2022, through recalls and deaths.
The by-election humbled Douglas Mwonzora, who held on to the MDC party, hoping to rekindle its glory days under the late leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Chamisa.
Ahead of the by-elections the police threw spanners in the CCC campaign by banning some rallies and gatherings, as well as erecting crippling roadblocks in an attempt to sabotage meetings.
The crackdown has continued and is increasing ahead of this year’s elections. In an exclusive interview with The NewsHawks this week, Chamisa said his party has done well despite the ongoing siege on the CCC.
“We are now one-year-old and we have been doing a lot of work. In fact, to date we have done over 945 meetings that are high profile, then of course grassroots meetings, thousands and thousands of them, at community level in the streets and, of course, different towns,” Chamisa said in the week marking thr CCC’s anniversary.
“Our rallies have also been banned, 62 meetings have been banned, but of course we have done very well. Now, we have a national footprint, we are so excited. We would like to thank you all Zimbabweans for supporting us, for standing with us under very difficult times.”
Chamisa said the CCC is aiming for dominance in Parliament after a strong showing in by-elections.
“Our target is to get two-thirds majority in Parliament. Right now we have 19 members of the CCC, and we did perform better in the by-elections. We had 19 out of 28. That was fantastic on the 26th of March 2022.
“We also had for the whole year by-elections in the local authorities. We had 149 and we did score 89. By any standards, that is a significant show, and we thank God for the guidance, inspiration and of course for the providence. More importantly, we are thankful to the citizens for buying into the vision for supporting us morally, financially and morally,” Chamisa said.
Early this month, a video circulating on social media showed elderly CCC members in Murehwa being flogged by suspected Zanu PF youths on accusations of convening a CCC meeting.
Zanu PF has since distanced itself from the violence, claiming that it was stage-managed. Also this month, 26 CCC members were arrested in Budiriro, Harare, for attending an internal meeting at a private residence.
Those arrested included Budiriro member of Parliament Costa Machingauta and fellow legislator Amos Chibaya.