SENGEZO Tshabangu’s Beitbridge West nominee for his Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) faction, Blessing Choeni, has withdrawn his candidature for the December 9 by-elections allegedly because he was “not advised” when enlisted to participate.
The by-elections are being held following recalls of CCC legislators and councillors by the self-proclaimed CCC party interim secretary-general Tshabangu. Choeni, a serial political bed-hopper who moved from Zanu PF to Freezim Congress of Zimbabwe and later attempted to return to Zanu PF, was expected to battle it out against Morgan Ncube of the CCC led by Nelson Chamisa and the ruling Zanu PF’s Thusani Ndou.
“I resigned because I don’t want to split the votes for our CCC party. I am a follower of Chamisa and will not contest against a candidate approved by the party president,” Choeni said.
He immediately began to accuse Tshabangu of being a Zanu PF project. Choeni could, however, not explain why he accepted Tshabangu’s request for him to register and present himself at the nomination court which sat in Gwanda. A cross-border trader, Choeni is understood to have dumped Joseph Busha’s Free Zim Congress after a fallout over some financial issues.
He left Zanu PF after unsuccessfully trying to unseat a long time Beitbridge former councillor for Mtetengwe, Alderman Bhaureni Muleya. Meanwhile, Chamisa yesterday said his party was making fresh deliberations on how to stop the looming by-elections from being held owing to escalating political violence.
He was addressing mourners gathered in Mabvuku at the funeral wake of slain party activist Tapfumaneyi Masaya. Masaya was found dead on Monday after he had been abducted in Mabvuku two days earlier while campaigning for party candidate Febion Kufahakutizwi ahead of the December 9 by-elections.
Several other CCC party members have been abducted and tortured by suspected State security agents post the August 23 and 24 polls. Chamisa decried the escalating political violence which had claimed lives ahead of the December 9 by-elections.
“This matter is only an indication of a country sliding into further abyss and tyranny. The family is shocked. They didn’t expect this to happen,” he said.
“The issues of by-elections are mere sideshows. How do you have a country without hospitals, medicines and schools without books and civil servants that are underpaid but can afford to have US$5 million to throw away (for the by elections) in a dark hole.”
Chamisa named President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the kingpin behind the recalls.
“This is not about Tshabangu. He is not the problem. The real creator is Mr Mnangagwa. He is the one who is at the centre of it. Why? Because he would not have rushed to declare the elections when he knew that the recalls were a criminal act,” he said.
“The recalls are criminal and fraudulent. We will fight the recalls and illegalities. Of course the courts have their limitations but we will leave no stone unturned. We are doing everything we can, politically, diplomatically and also legally to make sure we exhaust all avenues. There is no need for by-elections to be held in this country.”