Nothing new about CCC’s same old characters

28 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Nothing new about CCC’s  same old characters Nelson Chamisa

The Herald

Lovemore Chikova

Assistant Editor

When CCC won in the majority of constituencies in by-elections held in March, its leaders ran with a line that they had done well, yet they were a new party on the scene.

Yet the claim that CCC is a new party is totally wrong and a self-serving propaganda being propagated by its leaders.

In this article, Herald Assistant Editor Lovemore Chikova analyses the leading characters in CCC, clearly showing that their ways will not be different from what they have been in the MDC.

Nelson Chamisa

Before Chamisa and his associates formed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), he was the leader of the MDC-T and MDC Alliance that incorporated his party and several others.

Chamisa, as the leader of CCC, is often accused of lacking direction and using undemocratic means to stay afloat.

His postures revealing traits of a dictator have raised concern among many sectors in the country.

For instance, Chamisa prefers to call himself with praise names such as “mukomana” (the son); the people’s president; the only one; the people’s general and champion-in-chief. 

This is meant to build a personality cult of himself by trying to make people believe he is the only one who can do it for them.

One of the weaknesses manifest in Chamisa is his disregard of the constitution and the rule of law.

When he became the leader of the MDC-T, he disregarded the party constitution by convening an illegal national committee meeting that appointed him successor to Tsvangirai.

Now, the CCC that he leads does not have a constitution.

Chamisa, like many in his new party, believe they can wrestle power through violence.

He recently confirmed this at a rally.

“Today we have come without the party constitution and values, but to make some declarations,” he said. “I am going to win the 2023 elections. If ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) fails to do things correctly in the upcoming by-elections and also in the 2023 general elections, I will unleash people in the streets. 

“I will be at the forefront while you rally behind me. This country will never move forward if I lose the presidential election. Even today, if you want, I can unleash the people. I am going to win those elections because this time I should not be going to the courts to challenge the results.” 

In 2018, Chamisa once again showed his propensity for violence by threatening to unleash mayhem if he lost the 2018 general elections.

“This time around the election is going to produce one outcome and that is victory for the MDC Alliance,” he said. “ZEC is a biased referee, a referee who throws away the whistle and joins the other team, we will protest against that, we are going to bring into the streets guys from Mbare Musika they are ready for that.

“We are not going to leave any stone unturned. In fact, we have given them enough time.

“This election is going to be very different because I am even ready to take power either by votes or by other means.” 

Another weakness of Chamisa is that he is prone to making reckless and bad decisions that have cost his party.

For instance, Chamisa has insisted that President Mnangagwa and his government are illegitimate, yet he constantly demand that the same government and President Mnangagwa initiate reforms in various areas.

Observers have pointed out these double standards.

Chamisa has largely become an epitome of poor politicking, emotional instability and brazen dislike for order and a propensity to abuse the existing democratic space in Zimbabwe. 

His other biggest mistake is overrating his stature in Zimbabwe’s political space, when actually he needs to work extra hard and change his unilateral approach to issues if he is to appeal to all Zimbabweans.

Chamisa is widely viewed as a puppet of Western powers who seek to destabilise Zimbabwe and cause illegal regime change. 

This is confirmed by his numerous visits to Western capitals.

Just recently, he told his supporters soon after returning from Europe that he had moved from one capital to another telling them to tighten illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Chamisa is widely viewed as someone who has brought suffering on the people by calling for sanctions on Zimbabwe.

In 2017, Chamisa and other members of his party were invited to the United States where they appeared before the Congressional Committee of Foreign Relations to campaign for sanctions against Zimbabwe. 

From the look of things, Chamisa appears to be a political novice who believes that people can easily follow someone whose ideas are not based on any ideology.

To many Zimbabweans, this is an unforgettable crime, hence the crafting of the Patriotic Bill meant chastise those who soil the country’s image and its people.

Chamisa has also gotten a reputation as a liar, who thrives of telling his supporters what he will not be capable of delivering just as a way to attract votes.

During the campaign for 2018 general elections he was outed by many when he said he would construct an airport in every village if he was elected the President.

Most notably, the United States Embassy in Harare was forced to issue a statement discrediting Chamisa’s claims at a rally that Washington had promised him US$15 billion rescue package if he managed to win the 2018 elections.

“When we met with President Trump in America alongside Tendai Biti, he asked us how much we needed to move the country forward and we told him that we needed US$15 billion,” he said.

When he later appeared on BBC Hardtalk, Chamisa refuted most of the wild promises he had made during the election campaign, resulting in the programme’s anchor Steven Sackur describing the promises as “nonsensical” and bordering on “fantasy”. 

This resulted in one of his local allies David Coltart to retort: “Of course Nelson Chamisa has faults. All of us do. Of course he has made mistakes in some of his pronouncements — all of us have done so in our own political careers.”

A former MDC Alliance faction member and businessman, Eddie Cross, who once worked with Chamisa observed: “Look, I think this Chamisa guy, but he is still a kid and I’m not sure, I’m not sure . . . You know the Chinese have a saying; “If you are going to ride the tiger you gotta be able to stay on” and I don’t think he has the wisdom and I don’t think he has the maturity.”

Judging from Mr Chamisa’s mistakes it has become obvious that statecraft — the skilful management of State affairs — might be too onerous for him. 

Tendai Biti

Another controversial figure in the CCC is Biti, a University of Zimbabwe trained lawyer, who does not hide his ambitions to take over the opposition party.

Biti was the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in the 2009 Government of National Unity, and was accompanied by many controversies.

One of Biti’s major weaknesses is that he prides himself in confrontational politics and approach to issues.

This normally clouds his reasoning.

Social media users have nicknamed Biti the “Archbishop of Anger” because of his angry temperament, which has made people criticise this weakness. 

During his days as Finance Minister, Biti advocated for free market economics which saw him developing a complete disdain for indigenisation, thereby alienating himself from the people who longed for empowerment.

Biti has been outed on many occasions for his contempt for ordinary people whom he likes to denigrate in his speeches and on micro-blog Twitter.

He has a big ego and his love for himself and power is viewed by some as far more uncivilised and primitive than the ordinary men and women across Zimbabwe that he is so contemptuous of.

Biti is a typical Western-handled opposition official who wholeheartedly subscribes to the US’ views that it should make Zimbabwe’s economy scream and turn citizens against Government. 

Biti has appeared before the courts on several occasions facing different cases.

He is in court at the moment on allegations of manhandling a Russian national during an altercation outside Harare Magistrates’ Court.

The Russian national Ms Tatiana Aleshina and Biti allegedly had a heated exchange during which she says she was assaulted. 

Ms Aleshina wants Biti investigated for alleged gross unprofessional conduct and alleges she and her workmates were verbally abused each time they came to court. Ms Aleshina is a witnesses against Biti’s client in court.

In 2018, Biti was arrested at the border with Zambia while he was attempting to flee after he unilaterally announced that Chamisa had won the presidential elections.

The law states that only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has the authority to announce election results.

As a result of his announcement, which came before a ZEC announcement, MDC Alliance supporters invaded the streets where they caused mayhem, burning vehicles and attacking ordinary citizens.

The result was the death of six people.

Biti was arrested and appeared in 2020, together with Lynette Karenyi Kore, on charges of violating Covid-19 regulations during the national lockdown period, after staging an illegal demonstration at their former party headquarters in Harare.

The police were informed that the duo was leading a gathering in contravention of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, which prohibited the gathering of more than 50 people in line with Covid-19 protocols. Police were told that the gathering was aimed at planning to stage an unsanctioned demonstration in the city centre.

Biti, together with another CCC actor David Coltart are famed for crafting the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001 – the sanctions law that has stifled Zimbabwe’s developmental efforts.

Job Sikhala

Sikhala’s political life has been associated with excessive drama and political attention-seeking behaviour on many occasions.

He also likes to court controversy and this has led Zimbabweans not to take him seriously.

On several occasions, Sikhala has been criticised for his abuse of alcohol, which has seen him constantly drunk even when he conducts serious business like parliamentary work.

Some men have also publicly confronted him for snatching their wives. 

At one time he was accused of wrecking a marriage after he took someone’s wife on a campaign trail where he allegedly bedded her.

The woman’s husband Obey Bangizai said: “My wife could have met Job Sikhala during election campaigns and I later realized that my wife would go for campaigns with Job in the constituency. 

“I firstly never knew what was happening because I would be at work. I then got wind of what was happening, Lydia confessed to have had been in love with Sikhala where they had sex several times at Mubaiwa Hotel and at a lodge in town.

“It is disheartening that my wife would go and meet Sikhala while I was at work and I used to respect Sikhala not knowing that he was seeing my wife behind my back. I took Sikhala as a leader, but he has ruined my marriage.” 

Sikhala, like his other colleagues in CCC, has on several occasions called for violence as a way of gaining political power.

He likes to shout in Parliament and at street corners, a behaviour not befitting his person as a member of parliament.

Sikhala has been arrested for more than 50 times for crimes that a man seeking public office would not commit, many of the cases show that he lacks maturity, credibility, dignity, integrity and experience.

In most cases, his behaviour borders on criminality, and he has been in trouble for crimes such as smuggling people into the country without documentation, kidnapping, brawls, insulting the President and many other things that someone of his standing should simply avoid. 

He has appeared before the courts for subverting a constitutionally-elected Government and publishing falsehoods detrimental to the State.

He once constructed an illegal industrial structure, which he did without council approval.

Construction of the structure without adequate paperwork attested to the fact that Sikhala was acting unlawful because for such development to pass the test, it needed to comply with adequate public safety measures and the blessing of the council.

As a lawyer, Sikhala has been outed as a liar on several occasions, including when he told a magistrate that his client, Walter Mzembi, could not attend court because he was seriously ill, when actually he was well and fine.

A video released later in the day showed Mzembi being caught on camera fit and jovial, apparently working in his office.

Fadzayi Mahere

A novice in politics, the spokesperson of CCC has no any political history, expect that she is a lawyer and daughter to a former government official.

Mahere has been accused of being too close to Chamisa to the extent that the CCC leader trusts her more than any other person in the party, despite that she is still trying to find her way in politics.

But she has now become the second face of CCC apart from Chamisa, as she has been prominent when it comes to addressing the media.

Mahere likes to take Zimbabweans for granted through tweets that are usually based on lies and false accusations, thus spreading fake news.

She was arrested for publishing, through social media, false reports that a police officer beat to death a nine-month-old child in Harare and went on to claim that the police wanted to incite violence.

Mahere was also once arrested for staging an illegal demonstration in Harare. 

She was dragged to court by writer Petina Gappa to compel her to substantiate a 2018 case where she claimed she was defamed.

CCC relations with other political parties

At the forefront of being hostile to CCC is the MDC-T party formally led by Chamisa before he broke away to form CCC.

The root cause of hostility emanates from Chamisa’s unilateral and unconstitutional grab of power following the death of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

This led to in-fights, including physical fights, as other party members contested the illegality done by Chamisa.

After realising that he was losing everything when the other members of the party went to court and won against his unconstitutional move, Chamisa then decided to form CCC.

But those who remained in MDC-T started recalling members of parliament who were siding with Chamisa.

They also went ahead and kicked out Chamisa’s CCC from the party headquarters in central Harare.

This hostility left Chamisa with almost nothing in terms of the control of the party, forcing him to form CCC as an alternative.

Soon after the 2018 general elections, President Mnangagwa constituted a platform called Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) to ensure that political parties in the country have an opportunity to contribute to the development of Zimbabwe through dialogue.

Polad is a platform for political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections to contribute to social, economic and political progress.

This platform is made up of 23 political parties, including the ruling party, Zanu PF, all of which are hostile to CCC.

The major source of their hostility to CCC is that while they are busy attempting to find ways of making progress in Zimbabwe, they view the party as trying to reverse all their efforts. 

The other reason for the hostility is that Chamisa has refused to join Polad where he can have dialogue with President Mnangagwa, preferring to demand dialogue outside the platform.

Yet, President Mnangagwa has made his position clear about dialogue and Polad.

He said: “I said I don’t see it possible to have two platforms which discuss one issue. Zimbabwe’s political issue is one and if we discuss it we must have one platform at which we discuss it and that platform is Polad, I am not moving from that. 

“I think the collective voice should be heard more than an isolated voice in the jungle.” 

The political parties are concerned with the negative publicity by CCC as it pushes for the self-serving exclusive dialogue. 

These political parties under Polad have made it clear that they have no problem with President Mnangagwa’s victory in the 2018 general elections, while Chamisa has been claiming he is illegitimate.

In fact, the political parties have gone on to praise President Mnangagwa saying he was restoring the dignity of the country through his sound policies which have already transformed many sectors towards attaining an upper middle class economy by 2030. 

While the political parties in Polad are helping to reach out to countries that had been hostile to Zimbabwe, the CCC has been threshing the engagement and re-engagement policy being implemented.

This has led to sharp differences with CCC, as Chamisa has been globetrotting requesting leaders, especially those in Europe and the United States, not to engage or re-engage with Zimbabwe.

For example, when President Mnangagwa was invited to attend the climate conference in Scotland last year, Chamisa, who was the leader of MDC-T then downplayed the significance of the invitation.

On the other hand, Polad members appreciated the significance of such a visit, after more than two decades of Zimbabwe’s isolation from Europe. 

Rapporteur of the Polad International Relations and Re-Engagement Committee Mr Kwanele Hlabangana said as political parties they were pleased by the efforts made by the Government in re-engagment. 

“As Polad we are very encouraged by the efforts of the Government on the ongoing engagement and re-engagement drive,” he said. 

The other source of hostilities between political parties in Polad and CCC is that while they are campaigning for the removal of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, Chamisa is moving around European capitals calling for the tightening of the sanctions.

In their recent deliberations with United States representatives, Polad members, who included all the major political parties in the country, made it clear that sanctions had affected the generality of the populace.

The political parties submitted a report to the US which indicated that Zimbabwe had lost over US$42 billion in revenue over the past 18 years because of the illegal US and EU sanctions.

While CCC’s Chamisa tells people that the sanctions are targeted at a few ruling elites, the political parties in Polad are stating clearly that the story that the sanctions are targeted is a complete lie. 

While the political parties in Polad want peace to prevail in the country to create room for development, they view CCC as causing mayhem at a time when there is need for unity of purpose in dealing with challenges. 

Polad chairman for Information, Communication and Publicity, Mr Nesbert Mtengezanwa recently said it was unfortunate that CCC had persisted with its destructive approach at a time Zimbabweans needed to focus on solutions to build the nation. 

“As for the CCC issue, I think it’s just a matter of people who have failed in all their strategies and now they want to remain relevant by hook or by crook,” he said. 

“I hope one day soon they will overpower the pride in them and focus on real issues on the ground.” 

For the National Constitutional Assembly Party (NCA), which is also in Polad, CCC’s refusal to join Polad is another reason why there is hostility from the members of the dialogue platform. 

NCA leader and constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said while referring to CCC: “Regarding political dialogue, our position as NCA is that, if you are a political party, go to POLAD. POLAD is the only platform for political actors.

“If you want to go and negotiate for power and so forth there is no place for that in this country. This country is not partitioned between two political parties.” 

The political parties in Polad are also hostile to CCC for calling for illegal demonstrations, when they are preaching peace as a prerequisite for development.

Speaking after a Polad meeting, Bethel Christian Party leader Dr Willard Mugadza said instead of organising demonstrations, CCC should find other ways of engaging that are peaceful. 

 “The general consensus is that we must continue with negotiations,” he said. “As opposition political parties, our duty is to try and influence those that are in power.

“The issues that are being raised by those that are outside Polad like CCC are the same issues that we are also raising since the inception of Polad. So, negotiations with the ruling party have been agreed and they shall continue. Dialogue is the best way forward instead of engaging in demonstrations.” 

Leader of the New Patriotic Front, Mr Welcome Shumba, said: “We don’t support the demonstrations. As Zimbabweans, we should find each other. We know those who are behind the demonstrations. As Zimbabweans we should learn to dialogue.”

Just before the 2018 general elections, MDC-T entered into a political pact with six other political parties – PDP led by Biti, MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, Transform Zimbabwe led by Jacob Ngarivhume, Zanu-Ndonga led by Denford Musiyarira, Multi-Racial Christian Democratic Party led by Mathias Guchutu and Zimbabwe People First led by Agrippa Mutambara.

These political parties, most of them without any grassroots structures and one-man bands, formed what they termed the MDC Alliance that was then led by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The pact continued after Tsvangirai’s death and the dramatic takeover of the MDC-T by Chamisa, who became the leader of the MDC Alliance.

Biti and Ncube have since left their parties to join Chamisa’s CCC, while Zanu Ndonga and Zimbabwe People First have since disbanded.

Ngarivhume’s Transform Zimbabwe appears to be the only political party in Zimbabwe on CCC’s side at the moment.

But his support for CCC is mainly for personal political gain.

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