CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) rival factions are in fierce fights over engaging former leader Nelson Chamisa, who has spurned their overtures to return to the opposition party.
The two factions, one aligned to self-proclaimed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu and the other to Chamisa and led by party spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi, are claiming to be engaging the former leader to lure him back to the reins at the CCC.
The party has also been torn apart by infighting among the leadership.
NewsDay is reliably informed that party members from both factions are threatening and blackmailing each other while name dropping as the battle to control the opposition party rages on.
Chamisa stepped down from the CCC presidency after losing control of the party to Tshabangu, who went on a spree to recall party legislators and councillors.
Following Chamisa’s resignation, some party bigwigs believed to be aligned to Tshabangu have since reclaimed their positions in the MDC 2019 structures, in which Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube and Lynette Karenyi-Kore were vice-presidents.
Charlton Hwende was elected the secretary-general at the 2019 congress.
Biti told NRTV last week that he was vice-president of the CCC.
Ncube reportedly chaired a meeting for Tshabangu’s faction, which resolved to revert to the MDC 2019 structures, while Karenyi-Kore was appointed leader of the same faction.
Posting on his X (formerly Twitter) account, Hwende claimed that he spoke to Chamisa for two hours on Tuesday last week over his resignation, adding that the former CCC leader was adamant about not re-joining the opposition party.
“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,” Hwende said.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Hwende were in vain as he was not picking calls.
But Mkwananzi rubbished Hwende’s claims in an interview with NewsDay this week.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Marondera Central MP Caston Matewu, who was appointed deputy spokesperson of the CCC aligned to Tshabangu, told NewsDay in an interview that engagements with Chamisa were underway.
“We are engaging president Chamisa so that he comes back and leads us. But we noted that we can’t go to him all of us. We have set a committee which is led by Senator [Jameson] Timba to play the intermediary role.
“We are yet to get a feedback from them on what the president says. There are so many who are capable of taking the reins of the CCC, but at the moment, we believe in advocate Chamisa,” he said.
Matewu, however, dismissed Tshabangu’s claims, adding that he did not know him.
Timba distanced himself from Matewu’s claims.
“I stand by the resolution of the citizens national assembly, which sat early this (last) week. Any other claims outside the resolutions, those who are raising them should answer your queries,” he said.
The citizens national assembly appointed Timba as the chair and chief administrator of a 10-member committee to oversee the affairs of the party in the interim.