Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu says the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s appointment of two vice presidents before his death is to blame for the chaos engulfing the opposition.
Tshabangu (ST), who has become infamous for recalling CCC elected representatives while claiming that they were no longer members of the party, made the claims on the platform In Conversation with Trevor hosted by Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube (TN).
He was trying to make a link between CCC and MDC Alliance, which he claims birthed the Nelson Chamisa-led party.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
TN: Sengezo Tshabangu, welcome to In Conversation with Trevor.
ST: My pleasure Uncle Trevor. It is pleasing to be here.
TN: It is a pleasure having you here. In the introduction there, Sengezo Tshabangu, claims to be the interim secretary general of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
A number of people are saying you were never elected interim secretary general.
There was never a gathering where you were elected to be the interim secretary general? What do you say to that?
ST: Well, Trevor the issues are before the courts, but I will scratch from the surface. There are so many people who have challenged my authority, challenged my existence, some are even failing to pronounce my name, which is a direct indictment to the people that I represent, to the tribe that I come from.
TN: Some are spelling your name with a ‘c-h’?
ST: Yeah with a ‘c-h’. It is unheard of. Yes, there are people who do not know Tshabangu, but these people I have worked with them for years so I think it is a direct attack to the the region, to the people, to the clan where I come from.
So, I do not expect that people that I worked with for so many years can still misspell my name, pronounce it in an unreasonable fashion, it’s an unheard of, but well I will come back to that.
Now, to the point of my appointment, the same process that really appointed president Nelson Chamisa to be the president of the CCC, and also to be the presidential candidate is the same process in which I was elected.
The strategy of ambiguity, so we will discuss these things after the court because they are at the centre of our courts, so it would be unfair for me to really discuss those matters.
TN: So you say you are the interim secretary general as a result of the strategy of ambiguity? Strategic ambiguity as it is?
TN: Do you want to unpack that? What does that mean?
ST: Well you see we represent the party.
We are an offshoot of the MDC Alliance. I sat in the national council, the national executive, that decided the departure point from the MDC Alliance to the CCC, because there was a challenge that we were going to the elections and Douglas Mwonzora and his team they had taken the name.
So part of the resolutions was that let us have an election strategy, let us form a political party, let us have a new slogan, let us have a different name altogether, different colour.
That is what we agreed.
We were using the constitution of the MDC Alliance, that is what gave birth, that is the paternity process that gave birth to the CCC that we find ourselves in.
But along the way, you realise that that leadership had the likes of Welshman Ncube, had the likes of Tendai Biti, Kore as the deputy, a third deputy president, Amos Chibaya and all you name them.
Along the way the strategy of ambiguity came into play.
We had another CCC, these people, their positions were taken off.
You go to a rally, you would have a president of the party sitting on the floor, you have the president of the party launching the campaign as if he is launching an independent campaign.
There was no organic chemistry of the party working together.
The organs of the party were dissolved.
So there was within the CCC a formation of this structure, which is structureless.
I think it is before the court maybe, but that’s the surface of it.
So, we have this kind of an animal, a creature which you do not even understand the head, the tail of it which is running within the CCC, so that is the strategy of ambiguity that produced the results that we find ourselves in today.
That even failed to even produce candidates that produced the flawed election that produced the result that is still questionable even today.
That produced an incomplete electoral process. So through this strategy…
TN: But some people would say Tshabangu that you are saying the CCC was an offshoot of MDC-A.
And yet some people say No, that it was a completely different organisation.
I think Nelson Chamisa actually pronounced that No this is something completely different, it is not related to MDC.
Am I getting things wrong there?
Although I must admit that what has happened in the past three or so years, in particular the past two years and last six months has totally confused me.
So some of the questions I am asking are genuinely wanting clarification. Was it a new party or is it an offshoot of MDC-A?
ST: We are an offshoot of MDC-A because what gave birth to this new outfit it was the constitution.
We registered the constitution, which we changed and put the CCC but with the same organs that we were using in the MDC Alliance.
So we never came from heaven, we were born by MDC Alliance.
There was MDC-T… I will take you through from when we started this party.
In 1999 there was a convention where we formed the MDC without a name, without people’s face as a symbol, but it was an MDC which comprised of the churches, labour unions. I’m a student of labour.
We are the people who formed the MDC, we are the umbilical cord of the MDC.
We ran with MDC until 2005, where we started to question the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai the late. May his soul rest in peace.
There was no collective decision process.
We went to the senate in 2005, there was a debate, and that caused the split where the professor Welshman Ncube walked away from the MDC and he remained MDC and then we formed MDC-T to differentiate between us and Welshman Ncube.
So that was the departure point, the first split of the MDC.
We moved on and we had a caveat that we are the MDC-T, we identified ourselves with the leader not with the constitution [or] with the values [and] with the principles where we formed from.
Then in 2014 the same dark cloud that visited us in 2005 visited us again in 2014.
We had Tendai Biti walking away, again forming PDP. Morgan Tsvangirai remained with the MDC-T.
Fast forward, we brought these forces together.
MDC, green, PDP [and] we formed MDC Alliance.
We went to the election in 2018 under the MDC Alliance banner.
We contested the election, the elections did not produce the desired result.
Morgan somehow, he fell ill and he was not in a position to continue with his duties.
He created this mess that we find ourselves in today.
He appointed president Nelson Chamisa and engineer (Elias) Mudzuri into the mainstream of the MDC as the vice-president, we had a vice-president who was elected through a congress which was Dr Thokozani Khupe.
There were fissures there to a certain extent that Thokozani Khupe was almost burnt in a hut in Buhera during the funeral of the late Morgan Tsvangirai.
So that was MDC Alliance, that was the journey.
And there was Douglas Mwonzora who claimed that the MDC Alliance was his and we were [also] MDC Alliance so it was difficult for us because that was the convention of political parties, so there was nothing like MDC Alliance [as] it was a covenant of the political parties coming together.
So we had a problem right?
So given those matrices then we decided that let us form a political party.
We ran an election under MDC Alliance, president Chamisa ran as the presidential candidate of the MDC Alliance, the structures, organic structures from district, provincial to national level, and if you compare the results Mr Trevor in 2018 were quite reasonable figures.
That was when we reached a two million mark that we had never really reached before.
So we formed CCC from MDC Alliance.
So we are an offshoot of MDC Alliance.
So, there is nothing we can say which can disassociate ourselves from MDC Alliance, we are MDC.
It is just a change of name, change of character, a change of colour, change of logo, change of symbol.
That is what defines us from MDC Alliance, our umbilical cord, our DNA, we are MDC.
TN: So you have been alive to these issues all along? I get the sense you actually are deep into it.
TN: Why now? Why have you decided to raise these issues now?
TN: What are you trying to fix now?
ST: We claim that we are an alternative, and the reason why we are in these politics is that there is an agreement that Zanu-PF has deviated from the principles and values of the liberation struggle.
We thought that as an alternative we need to complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle, but we cannot do that without a constitution.
We cannot do that without a collective a decision-making process. I am coming from labour.
We cannot do that without debating and exhausting these issues.
We cannot do that without having a thorough debate on issues, fundamental issues for that matter.
Be it policy, be it political mantra.
So we find ourselves in a situation that we cannot replace Zanu-PF, we cannot see the errors of Zanu PF, yet we are doing worse than Zanu-PF.
Under Robert Gabriel Mugabe we never witnessed a situation where people can operate without a constitution.
Where people can go into a politburo bureau and Robert Gabriel Mugabe decides without really having this decision discussed at the cabinet.
Even if he had a theory of a policy that he wants to push he would put it in for a discussion and debate it…
TN: But still my question is why now? Why now?
ST: The elections are gone.
ST: Done and dusted.
ST: So we rather put our house in order before 2028. We should not wait for 2028 and raise these issues.
Let us raise them now so that we build a force, so that we do the [introspection] and see how the gaps that we can close as a movement and move forward.
Pick ourselves, look at the election, how did we lose the elections?
Are there issues that we are doing right? Are there issues that we are not doing right?
Are we off the path from when we started this movement?
What are those issues and these are the issues that we are raising now so that by the time we get to 2028 we have got an oiled machine which is a movement, which is an alternative which is ready to take the political path.
“In Conversation With Trevor” is a weekly show broadcast on YouTube.com//InConversationWithTrevor. The conversations are broadcast to you by Heart and Soul Broadcasting Services. The conversations are sponsored by WestProp Holdings.