Dr Mavaza Says CCC A Chaotic Mess In 2023 | FULL TEXT
1 January 2024
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Will Calm Return to CCC Politics in 2024?


This year, the opposition has experienced its most disastrous period ever since its formation. The ZANU PF party has built up a lead in the polls while ironically gaining power from the top ranks of the opposition. In October, a rare calm descended on Zimbabwean politics as news emerged from Bulawayo of a great cyclone named Cyclone Tshabangu sweeping through opposition politics, taking no prisoners. This moment of stillness came in a year of wild upheaval, bringing CHAMISA back to reality. Meanwhile, ZANU PF began and ended 2023 by consistently emphasizing the need to reduce opposition control of urban voters. In January, President Mnangagwa outlined his party’s priorities for 2023, one of which was winning the August elections. His task was made easier when the main opposition confused itself by implementing a strategy that brought more confusion than clarity.

After a prolonged legal battle, Chamisa entered the August 2023 elections with an ambiguous strategy. This ambiguity has long plagued CCC, leading to political and economic turmoil. CCC supporters have lost the energy and enthusiasm that once fueled their creativity, overwhelmed by recent events that have shaken the foundation of the opposition movement.

Referred to as the Tshabangu fiasco, these events rocked the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). The CCC emerged as a formidable force in the 2023 harmonized elections, challenging the ruling party Zanu PF and its leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The CCC garnered 48% of the presidential vote, while Zanu PF secured 50.8%, a narrow and disputed victory. The CCC also narrowly won enough seats in the National Assembly to prevent a Zanu PF majority, becoming the largest opposition bloc in Zimbabwe’s history. However, as fate would have it, Tshabangu deepened the divisions that emerged after the elections.

Chamisa’s sidelining of senior CCC members marked the culmination of a period of extreme turbulence. His dictatorship, described as Strategic Ambiguity, alienated his allies, causing a significant shift in the CCC’s political landscape and setting Chamisa up for failure. “It’s probably going to be the year when the opposition lost the chance of winning. It’s hard to see how they can win a majority next time when they use confusion to create order,” it is said.

Chamisa hopes to benefit from what his party members call a confused confusion, but this incompetent political management has given ZANU PF a significant majority margin. The events within the CCC show the damage they have suffered over the past year, giving ZANU PF a free lead. This suggests that Chamisa, grappling with a wave of recalls, has not regained much of the ground lost, and recovery from such a loss seems impossible.

For CCC, a key change in 2023 was the voters’ perception of Chamisa’s leadership, the disastrous handling of the party, and the endless infighting, leading to the conclusion that the game was up for the opposition. The situation on the ground indicates the public expects a ZANU PF government for a long time, a perception that negatively impacts CCC.

According to political analysts, the Tshabangu trauma also marked a high point for the populist surge that manifested in the first few months of Chamisa’s rise. We can safely say that 2023 was the year of reality and material facts, problematic for populists who thrive on confusion. The current CCC is led by leaders who lack vision and a clear plan.

Chamisa and former student activists fit into a similar mold, offering voters unflashy stability, which is ambiguous. Voters have likely reached the end of the idea that governance can be achieved by merely changing the party’s prime minister every few months.

2023 brought an end to the populist idea of carelessly proposing ideas without considering their financial implications. Tshabangu has become a “still point in the turning world of opposition politics.” In this time of Cyclone Tshabangu, ZANU PF will be the ultimate beneficiary of this trend, and Zimbabweans can sense a change in the direction of the political wind.

2023 was the year that the relationship between the opposition and itself changed dramatically. Chamisa is leading the opposition into a more erratic phase of political administration. Tshabangu’s impact runs deep in opposition politics. The majority of people now accept, regardless of how they voted, that CCC would not deliver a land of milk and honey.

There came a moment when people started admitting that Chamisa was a disaster for Zimbabwean politics. ZANU PF’s victory in the December by-elections suggests a growing number of people regret voting for CCC in the August general elections.

Zimbabweans now believe that Chamisa’s ousting from CCC will mark a watershed moment, allowing other opposition leaders to start repairing the damage and forge a new entity.

Zimbabweans now believe that Chamisa’s ousting from CCC will mark a watershed moment, allowing other opposition leaders to start repairing the damage and forge a new partnership in a less toxic atmosphere. Zimbabwean politics can now be discussed without reference to Chamisa. He has moved on, and so have we.

Cyclone Tshabangu also raised a profound question for CCC: what is CCC for? CCC tried its best over a number of years to blame ZANU PF for their predicament. They even attempted to attribute Tshabangu to ZANU PF, but his umbilical cord was stubbornly attached to CCC. In fact, 2023 proved beyond any doubt that there are no quick fixes to the opposition’s problems and that the public is fed up with politicians shifting the blame. Chamisa and CCC will now have to live with that uncomfortable legacy.

The support for Chamisa is now dwindling, with even former allies like Biti and Ncube turning against him, indicating that he is not the right candidate for the job. Effectively, we are entering 2024 without a strong opposition and without independent legislators.

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