THE newly-formed opposition party Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) on Wednesday submitted double candidates to stand in at least three municipal by-elections in Bulawayo, exposing differences in the party’s top echelons.
The by-elections are set for 26 March.
However, there was chaos in the CCC-led Nelson Chamisa after the party fielded double candidates in Masvingo Urban and Bulawayo local council elections.
In Masvingo Urban, Ward 4, Alec Tabe and Thokozile Muchuchuti also both filed nomination papers under the CCC ticket.
Four candidates were accepted by the nomination court sitting in Bulawayo in Wards 9 and 26 ahead of the by-elections set for March 26.
Norman Hlabani, who was councillor for ward 26 before being recalled by the MDC-T, successfully filed his papers but Mpumelelo Moyo was also accepted.
In ward 9, Donaldson Mabutho – recalled as councillor in September 2020 – was accepted as a candidate for the CCC as was Bekithemba Nyathi.
Hlabani and Mabutho had their paperwork signed by the party’s deputy national chairman Job Sikhala and secretary general Charlton Hwende, while vice president Professor Welshman Ncube and Siphiwe Ncube reportedly approved Moyo and Nyathi.
The party fielded double candidates in the 2018 elections when it was called MDC Alliance, and blamed then secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora for the debacle which saw Zanu PF take advantage and win some seats. Mwonzora has since left the Chamisa camp.
Just like in 2018, the latest debacle could conspire to see the party lose the wards through the splitting of votes – unless the second candidate in each ward withdraws.
Hwende said: “I am trying to find out exactly what happened.”
Professor Ncube said: “The question you should ask is: who signed for the candidate who was overwhelmingly rejected by the people? It wasn’t me. You keep asking the wrong question.”
Hlabani claimed there was an uneasy “power sharing” arrangement in the party which was causing confusion.
“It’s like this. If the parents are not principled, if the parents don’t have family guidelines and you have a mother claiming to be in charge of a home, and a father claiming the same, if the two are not together to make one decision towards the wellbeing of a home, this is what happens,” he told ZimLive.
“A father says tow this line, then a stepfather gives his own directions. In a normal set-up if there is one bull, all the cattle will fall in line, if there are two bulls this will be the result. This did not start now, it has happened before to an extent that there is power sharing within the home.”
Hlabani said it was not too worried about his chances of victory.
“It’s not my chances, it’s the leadership’s chances. If they think this is healthy, the ball is in their court,” he fumed.
Mabutho, meanwhile, furiously hit out at Professor Ncube accusing him of “evil deeds” before claiming “his head will roll.”
He fumed: “What I can say is that it’s unbelievable. We had two national signatories who signed for our candidates which was Honourable Charlton Hwende and Honourable Job Sikhala, but the one who signed for the papers in Bulawayo was vice president Ncube and Siphiwe Ncube.
“I cannot say it’s a sad day, it’s something which God wants to reveal. Normally there is something called permissive will of God, whereby God allows certain situations to present themselves to a child who will be ordained to gain glory in the end.
“There are lessons to be drawn, actually this is a big exposure, people are being exposed for their evil deeds. We’re not worried, I know my residents in ward 9 will resoundingly vote for me and we reclaim that ward back. I’m not worried that we have got double candidates. I’m actually happy that the evil has been exposed.
“We said we have built the new, but some people want to derail the new. This is tantamount to treason and as a youth member we cannot accept this, heads will roll, I can tell you. That, I can assure you.
“The heads of the signatories, VP Ncube and Siphiwe. The residents’ association is fuming, in the vendors association there is pandemonium. We will calm them. People know their leader.”
The CCC did not hold primary elections. Instead, the party’s leadership came up with a new mechanism where candidates are selected through “stakeholder engagement.”
Candidates who held the seats before their recalls, meanwhile, felt they deserved another shot to reclaim the seats – creating conflict with the new candidate selection process.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), in an election notice, said 120 by-elections will be held to fill vacant municipal seats. The election for ward 3 in Bulawayo has been cancelled, however, following a court challenge.
By-elections will also be held in 22 parliamentary constituencies, after six races were cancelled following an order of the High Court on Tuesday.