Gibson Nyikadzino Herald Correspondent
THE opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is contemplating setting up a paramilitary wing within its party’s ranks ahead of the 2023 harmonised general elections in the name of “defending the citizens after voting”, The Herald can reveal.
The paramilitary wing, a similar concept to the united MDC’s Democratic Resistance Committees (DRCs) in the early and mid 2000s, is expected to execute the party’s objectives using militancy to subvert the Government and violently grab power.
Following CCC leader Mr Nelson Chamisa’s visit to South Africa last month where he met Norwegian embassy officials, the United States and the European Union have promised Mr Chamisa and his party more financial aid and economic sabotage tactics to create market volatility in the economy.
The US, through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), has so far channelled over US$1,7 million through non-governmental organisations which is being used to finance CCC operations and other political communication activities on its behalf.
A leaked “Official Eyes Only” communication in possession of The Herald originated by the interim party’s portfolio for external affairs with recommendations from the meeting in South Africa, details the CCC’s plan to have a party militia called the Citizens’ Defenders (CDs).
“It will be important to quickly constitute the party’s Citizens’ Defenders (CDs) and have them trained appropriately ahead of the elections on how they will defend the freedoms of citizens after they have voted.
“To achieve this, it is necessary to use the financial help we have received from friendly countries and other friends who have promised financial aid, strategy on sabotage and other values on how we can defend the vote in next year’s general elections,” the communication reads.
A senior CCC official who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity yesterday said Mr Chamisa has been promised financial help and other “technical support” by the Americans and other European countries “if his plans advance Western interests”.
The source also said militancy around the CDs is poised to be a mandate of the interim party’s deputy chairperson, Mr Job Sikhala, who was arrested on Tuesday evening in connection with the violence that erupted in Nyatsime on the outskirts of Chitungwiza.
“The chaos and violence that you saw in Chitungwiza at Moreblessing Ali’s funeral is playing out according to the script of the CCC.
“They wanted things to go that way in order to measure the alertness of the security forces and how much time the police take to respond to future scenarios of violence.
“Remember Mr Chamisa has been to South Africa to meet Western officials who, to my knowledge, pledged more financial aid to execute and implement his plans.
“The goal is to turn the citizens against the Government and get more sympathy from the West,” said the source.
Mr Chamisa, whose party is a breakaway formation of the MDC-T, is on record as being an advocate of military intervention in Zimbabwe by the US and Britain as a way of helping him assume state power.
A leaked 2009 cable between Mr Chamisa and former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee recorded Mr Chamisa saying “military intervention to remove the regime” by the US and “sanctioning of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe” is what his then party wanted.
In 2013, former South African President Thabo Mbeki revealed that he rebuffed pressure from Britain to “work out a military plan so that we can physically remove” Zanu PF from power.
The US and EU sanctions on Zimbabwe have cost the country an estimated US$53 billion through capital flight and disruption of economic activities.
Other related punitive measures by the US through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have also cost the country dearly.
Mr Chamisa, in a February 2020 video while addressing people at Mutare’s Sakubva Stadium, bragged that he had been to Western capitals where he discussed with his handlers on how to squeeze Zimbabwe’s economy and make it scream.
“I was in Sweden, then Denmark, to the UK and Germany. My mission was to tell them to firmly press and squeeze the economy,” said Mr Chamisa then.