By- Two rival factions in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) are fighting over attempts to bring former leader Nelson Chamisa back into the opposition party.
One faction led by the disputed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu and the other by party spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi, are claiming to engage Chamisa in order to regain control of the party.
Infighting among the leadership has further divided the party, with members from both factions resorting to threats, blackmail, and name-dropping to assert their control and influence.
Chamisa resigned from the party on 24 January 20224 after losing control to Tshabangu who has been recalling party Members of Parliament and councillors arguing that they had ceased to belong to CCC. Some party leaders aligned with Tshabangu have since reclaimed their positions their MDC 2019 structures, which include vice-presidents Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, and Lynette Karenyi-Kore. Chalton Hwende was elected as the secretary-general during the 2019 congress.
Hwende claimed on social media that he had a two-hour conversation with Chamisa regarding his resignation, but Chamisa was firm in his decision not to rejoin the CCC. Hwende stated that he would consult with the people of Kuwadzana East to determine the next steps, while expressing support for Chamisa as the leader for bringing change to the country. He wrote on X:
On Tuesday, I had a 2-hr conversation with president @nelsonchamisa and we discussed his resignation statement. He is clear that he will never return to the CCC and he will make an announcement on his next move in the near future. I agree with his decision.
Tomorrow, I will begin series of consultations with the people of Kuwadzana East so that I can be guided on the next move. President Chamisa remains our best foot forward to bring change in this country.
However, Mkwananzi dismissed Hwende’s claims and accused him of lying about speaking with Chamisa. Mkwananzi asserted that they would defend Chamisa as the rightful leader and face of the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe. He told NewsDay:
Those who say they are talking to president Chamisa are lying. Hwende is lying, he never spoke to the president. They just want to incorporate advocate Chamisa to legitimise their alliance with ZANU PF because they fear the masses.
As for us, we are going to defend the gains of the democratic struggle and the face of the democratic struggle which is Nelson Chamisa.
He is the rightful leader of the democratic movement in Zimbabwe and we will ensure that he remains a leader until we achieve a new Great Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Marondera Central MP Caston Matewu, aligned with Tshabangu’s faction, confirmed ongoing engagements with Chamisa to persuade him to return as the leader. Matewu mentioned a committee led by Senator Jameson Timba acting as intermediaries in communication with Chamisa, although Timba distanced himself from Matewu’s claims.
The Citizens National Assembly appointed Timba as the chair of a 10-member committee to oversee the party’s affairs in the interim, as per the resolutions made during their recent meeting.