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Chamisa can still salvage the decimated opposition



ZIMBABWE’S main opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa can still make a last-minute attempt to salvage the party from imminent collapse sparked by controversial recalls backed by a state-sponsored campaign to create a one-party state, prominent political scientists contend.


Barely two months after the 23/24 August general elections, the CCC has since then been rocked by a series of recalls on members of Parliament and councillors currently being pushed by self-styled secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

Political analysts Professor Ibbo Mandaza and Professor Stephen Chan told The NewsHawks in two separate interviews that Chamisa should go back to the drawing board, set up structures and work closely with aggrieved seasoned opposition stalwarts in order to navigate the turbulent political waters tearing apart the movement.

Sengezo has also written to the government demanding to be given the CCC share of money from the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

Fears abound that he is being sponsored by Zanu PF. 

There have been assertions that while Chamisa is the victim of a Zanu PF onslaught, he seems bereft of solutions whenever he is cornered.

“Chamisa needs to go back to the drawing board, where he began under the MDC banner and structures that he appears to have recklessly abandoned,” Mandaza said. 

“More than that, he has to, if it’s not too late, mobilise Zimbabweans into a confidence huddle, reconcile and reconnect with erstwhile allies, and above all acknowledge the extent to which he’s singularly culpable for affording his enemies the opportunity to try and annihilate him.”

He highlighted that even though Chamisa is under siege, there is still hope for him to reclaim his dominance in the political sphere.

“Yes, there is hope, but he needs to live up to it,” said Mandaza.

Chan said: “It is highly likely that Zanu PF is behind the actions of the imposter secretary-general. This person seems intent only on destabilising Chamisa’s authority and making the CCC unable to use its full parliamentary strength. He has no vision for the CCC or the country.

“But he has exploited Chamisa’s ‘strategic ambiguity’ and reluctance to manage the CCC in a formal constitutional manner.”

As a solution to the crisis, Chan said, Chamisa must formalise the party with substantive leaders from top to bottom elected at congress and also put together the party’s constitution. 

“Chamisa must move swiftly in the direction of a constitutionalised party with clear offices and named officers elected in a transparent and recorded public fashion. He must, in short, overcome his own stubbornness in order to save the party and, above all, save the constitution,” he said.

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said Chamisa and the CCC must build a broader alliance typical of the 1999 model of opposition politics and then reach out to the people.

“They must reach out to churches, trade unions,  students among others and form a broad alliance to push for democratisation in Zimbabwe. What they need is a bigger and broader wave of political change not the bits and pieces of pushing for reforms,” he said.

Mukundu said he still defended his position that the CCC must completely walk out of Parliament and councils. 

“They need to sacrifice being in Parliament and councills where they will always be at the mercy of Zanu PF for bigger fights. Tshabangu will continue with the recalls and the courts will keep supporting him.

“The police will continue to support him also. What you need is a revision of the strategies to bring about change by going back to the model of 1999 and the year 2 000 of broader alliances. It’s time to talk to others and reach out to people who are not happy with the situation in the country like labour, churches, civil society and citizens. It’s time to conscientise the people on the crisis rather than enjoy sitting in Parliament,” he said. 

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