OPPOSITION Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators for Mutare Central (Innocent Gonese), Magwegwe (Felix Magalela Sibanda) and Mutasa Central (Trevor Saruwaka) will not be contesting in the next elections despite having been nominated to do so in their constituencies, citing the need to pass on the baton, joining scores of sitting MPs who will not make it into the next Parliament.
Harare North legislator Allan Markham is also contemplating stepping down.
Gonese is a former chief whip of the then opposition MDC which has metamorphosed into the CCC.
In Zanu PF, several sitting MPs will not make it into the next Parliament after losing out during the party’s internal primary polls.
They include Matabeleland South provincial minister Abednico Ncube, Deputy Information minister Kindness Paradza, Trade minister Sekai Nzenza, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, vocal Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena, Uzumba legislator Simbaneuta Mudarikwa and former war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba.
In announcing his position, the CCC’s deputy spokesperson Sibanda from Magwegwe said: “I’m a believer of the youth and young people empowerment and development practically, not just by word of mouth only.
“The post of being a legislator needs more active and agile individuals who are capable to criss-cross any constituency with ease and effectiveness. “Handing a leadership baton stick to others is a blessing in disguise because one leaves when relationships are cordial, to say the least.
“Being pragmatic and magnanimous is one of the signs and symptoms of being a strategic leader as stated simply on the subsection (1) above.”
Sibanda’s second term was unceremoniously disturbed by recalls from Dougals Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance.
Gonese said he took the decision to step down after serious reflection.
“I took this position after some reflection and introspection. I have been an MP for a long time. An MP’s role must not be like a career. I decided that since there are other people who are able and capable to play the role they must come in.
“The country needs transformation. I am a lawyer and still in practise so I could focus on that. However, it will not mean that I am no longer in the struggle. I am currently helping to achieve six million votes through massive voter registration for our party,” he said.
Saruwaka said: “My immediate target is to help my successor to win the seat and cement our invincibility status. Mutasa Central is a citadel of CCC. Broadly in the scheme of things I’m more available to campaign for the party without necessarily campaigning for myself.
“This is not the time to take a back seat but to get down to serious business and ensure Zanu PF is booted from government so that opportunities become available to all Zimbabweans as opposed to the few catered for currently.”
In an interview with The NewsHawks, Markham would not definitively state his current decision on whether to seek re-election of step down.
“Let’s wait and see,” he said.
Asked to explain further, he reiterated: “Reread what I have said.”
Gonese and Saruwaka have stepped down from contesting in this year’s polls despite being nominated. CCC opted for a citizen-centric process to produce the party’s candidates as opposed to the traditional model of primary elections.
The process is being conducted by an independent body, Citizens’ Independent Candidate Selection Panel (CISP), which will produce the party’s contestants in the general election through four stages, namely candidate nomination, candidate vetting, candidates’ caucuses and declaration of successful candidates.
In a statement, Gonese, who is one of the opposition bigwigs, said he decided to decline the nomination, and has chosen to back another candidate, Brian James, to contest for the seat.
Gonese’s decision also comes shortly after Saruwaka stepped down from contesting, a move the CCC described as a lesson to President Emmerson Mnangagwa that power can be transferred peacefully.
“I would like to thank the people of Mutare Central for giving me the opportunity to represent them as their representative in Parliament and also for nominating me as a Candidate in the forthcoming elections,” Gonese said.
“I am also happy that the former Mutare Mayor was also nominated as a candidate and while all the names are being vetted pending further processes, such as consultations and consensus in terms of the new candidate selection procedures, I have decided to decline the nomination.”
He said there was a need for new leadership and he was available to offer support to the new leaders.
“I had a fruitful discussion with James yesterday as I consider him a very worthy and deserving person to take over from me and I am pleased to advise that we are going to work together to ensure that Mutare Central remains yellow and plays its part in ensuring that we deliver maximum votes for President Chamisa and all candidates in other positions.