CCC Candidate Selection: Misunderstanding of or Disagreement with Procedure or Party or Persons?
24 June 2023
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By Vivid Gwede|The introduction of a new and innovative candidate selection procedure by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections has occasioned heated debate.

Some commentary has lauded the process as innovative and effective.

A contrarian perspective has painted the process as not understandable, confusing and vague even to CCC members, or outright opaque.

To dispel this latter charge, this submission argues, that those who called the procedure not understandable, confusing, and opaque were mostly in fact, pre-emptively disagreeing with, or opposed to it, latently or vehemently.

In short, they were attacking rather than disinterestedly assessing it, even unfairly so.

Noticeable Disagreement

From the outset, the CCC candidate selection procedure ahead of the 2023 harmonized elections on 23 August attracted two noticeable strands of disagreement with it, or opposition to it.

Firstly, opposition to the candidate selection procedure on account of preference and nostalgia for traditional primary elections, which are familiar and deemed convenient and best practice.

Secondly, opposition to the candidate selection procedure, stemming from deeper opposition to the CCC’s politics in general, and its leader in particular, and or ideas about both the leader and his politics.

Suffices it, to just highlight the above two observations.

And then proceed to argue, that latent opposition or vehement disagreement with the process was however publicly and actively performed and or concealed as misunderstanding of the same process, with subsequent labels such as “opaque”, “confusing” and “chaotic.”

Wilful Ignorance, Disinterest

Those who wanted to know the procedure could have done so, by taking an active interest and effort to study and know it, as it was by definition new.

Thus, positively inclined researchers and commentators outside the CCC structures – which structures were briefed and oriented on the process — took this route and positively commented on it, even quoting some relevant documents or manuals.

Some commentators took no effort, simply insisting that it was opaque, rendering it so by default, at least to themselves.

This attitude simply masked at the deeper level the fact that these critics disagreed with the process or the personalities.

Thus, having taken a pre-emptive attitude of disagreeing with the new CCC candidate selection process such critics saw no point or need in understanding it.

Such critics therefore masked both their dislike and wilful ignorance of the process in idle protestations that it was opaque, confusing and not understandable.

Yet, such attitude disrespected the fact that this was the biggest opposition in the country, and potential governing party.

The pre-emptive attitude that the procedure was incapable of being understood was detrimental in some respects.

A crucial consequence of the consistent narrative that the CCC candidate selection procedure was opaque, by those who were simply expressing their inherent disagreement, discouraged those who genuinely wanted and would have made efforts to follow it and understand it.

Thus, it manufactured and encouraged, in some innocent quarters, genuine ignorance of the process.

Contrary Evidence

The evidence shows that the process was open and publicly explained.

Unsubstantiated claims were made that even the ordinary members of the CCC did not understand the process and could suffer prejudice, even as same members were happily and easily engaging with it across the country.

The pre-emptive attitude that the procedure was opaque actively ignored official platforms created by the CCC spokespersons, Elections Bureau and its President to explain the process, including press conferences.

In efforts, not to lose the people and carry everyone along, through the different stages, the CCC even made these public statements periodic.

In those press conferences, various stages of the process were shared, and explained, including the nomination, vetting, validation, caucuses, and candidate declaration.

The CCC even also explained that the ultimate result would not be determined by any of the above stages, but a combination of all.

What was not shared for public consumption, would have been either superfluous or even strategically unwise in an authoritarian environment, such as a detailed calendar, which was however shared with the relevant structures – yes, structures – through relevant channels, within reasonable notice periods!

The available evidence does not point to efforts to make the process opaque, but rather to publicly explain it.

‘Where are our candidates?’

A symptomatic expression of this “opaque” and “confusing” narrative was the refrain: “Where is our candidates list?” with the insinuation that there might be an unresolvable hide-and-seek!

Yet, even this issue of timelines and candidate list was intuitive.

Those familiar with the law would have known that after the sitting of the Nomination Court on June 21, 2023, all final candidates contesting in the 2023 elections would have been known having been publicized by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), including those of the CCC.

In fact, that would be a final list of eligible candidates rather than a draft.

Whether making the list known way before nomination would still have not guaranteed the eradication of some cases of double candidates, which is a deeper and complex question as we have seen in the past.

Thus, accusations of playing hide-and-seek with candidates’ list was unfounded and manufactured hysteria.

Where certain information was not made public mostly to do with timing than anything else, the CCC president, Adv. Nelson Chamisa, gave an explanation through what he called the doctrine of strategic ambiguity and justified its relevance to the political and electoral context.

Yet, we all know it would have been better strategic ambiguity had no explanation been offered.

Save this would have created real confusion, opaqueness and misunderstanding, contrary to the party’s perceptible wish!

But, what is astounding, is that to some commentators the process had to remain “opaque,” despite the fact that key documents and templates such as vetting forms and procedure manual were made public documents, searchable on the internet!

This gives credence to the perception of wilful ignorance.


Sentiments that that the CCC candidate selection procedure was opaque, confusing and not understandable may have simply reflected, on a deeper level, the critics’ disagreement with the process and its implementers, and subsequent reluctance to understand it, than fair commentary.

This disagreement also stemmed from understandable comfort with primary elections which are familiar, but also pre-conceived and calculated dislike of opposition politics and ideas in general, as well as particular personalities such as those of the CCC leader, Adv. Chamisa.

In doing so, a clear-eyed opportunity to engage with the innovative process was missed, which is now only available in retrospect.