CCC big guns feel the heat as Young Turks come out in full force
By Mirriam Mangwaya | NewsDay |
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) bigwigs are in a last-minute rush to influence supporters to endorse them in the party’s supporters-centred candidate selection process, where the party’s Young Turks have come out in full force to challenge long-standing members.
Some of the party bigwigs have been MPs since 2000,a year after the opposition MDC was formed.
They have been winning the party’s primary elections.
However, the current system where the party is using a citizens’ nomination process is giving the bigwigs a torrid time as Young Turks are emerging to challenge the status quo.
The selection process begins with nominations, and selection of candidates will be done through consensus by community members after grassroots members were given the opportunity to choose the leaders they want to represent them in the upcoming elections.
The nomination process has seen new faces emerging to battle it out for National Assembly, Senate and local authority seats.
This has forced incumbents to up the ante in the fight to retain their positions.
Since Thursday, party bigwigs have been criss-crossing their constituencies canvassing for endorsement to stand in this year’s general election.
Reports of vote-buying emerged in some constituencies where sitting legislators were allegedly giving supporters money to buy their allegiance.
Insiders told NewsDay that youthful candidates also dominated the local authority seat nominations across the country.
Vetting of the candidates is currently underway, and the party is expected to announce the nominated candidates tomorrow.
CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba described the selection process as “exciting” as it was a no-holds-barred contest where citizens had the final say.
“The process is an intergenerational one,” Siziba said.
“It has put everyone on board. We have seen nominees from all races, ethnicities, age groups, professional backgrounds, war veterans, women — everyone. It is exciting. The process is demonstrating the democratic credentials of the party. The citizens are at the forefront. Citizens are leading. It will be exciting. Watch the space. There will be citizens’ caucuses, where the nominees will present themselves before the citizens, with their manifestos. The citizens will decide.”
CCC founding leader Nelson Chamisa was unanimously endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate.
In Warren Park, nomination was abandoned after supporters aligned to incumbent legislator, Shakespeare Hamauswa clashed with rival groups.
Notable bigwigs who include Tendai Biti of Harare East constituency, Judith Tobaiwa of Kwekwe Central, and Daniel Molokela of Hwange Central were nominated almost unanimously.
Harare West incumbent MP Joanah Mamombe is being challenged by Vongai Tome.
New entrant Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi is challenging Mabvuku-Tafara sitting MP James Chidhakwa.
Senior CCC member David Coltart was nominated for the Bulawayo ward 4 local authority seat.
Thokozani Khupe is likely to tussle with Zanu PF’s Mthuli Ncube for the Cowdray Park constituency.
Party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere was nominated for the Mt Pleasant constituency seat, while Siziba will likely represent the party in the Pelandaba-Tshabalala seat.
Sitting Bulawayo Central MP Nichola Watson has also been nominated to retain her seat.
In Chikomba West constituency, three-time opposition candidate Anthony Mutodza stepped down for the National Assembly seat and threw his hat for the senatorial post.
Liberation war veteran Egypt Chitauro was nominated for the Chikomba West seat.
Job Sikhala Jnr has been nominated to contest the Zengeza West constituency seat, which is currently occupied by his father, Job Sikhala who has been in jail since June last year on a charge of inciting public violence.
The son of the late MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Richard was nominated for the Norton constituency seat.