CCC hopefuls defy party order, run as independents

Three of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) by-election candidates filed their nomination papers as independent candidates in the Chegutu West, Seke, and Zvimba East constituencies to avoid disqualification from the elections, despite the opposition party’s insistence that its official candidates filed as CCC candidates.

Admore Chivero, Willard Madzimbamuto and Oliver Mutasa filed as independent candidates respectively in Chegutu West, Seke and Zvimba East, a departure from the strategy taken by the other three recalled candidates – Gift Ostallos Siziba, Stephen Chagwiza and Amos Chibaya who filed as CCC candidates ahead of  February 3 by-elections next year.

Siziba, Chagwiza and Chibaya are running for the Pelandaba-Tshabalala, Goromonzi South and Mkoba South constituency seats respectively.

However, in filing as CCC candidates, Siziba, Chagwiza and Chibaya defied a previous High Court order that barred recalled CCC members from contesting by-elections using the CCC party name.

CCC National Spokesperson Promise Mkhwananzi seemed to distance the independent candidates from the party when questioned about the rationale behind the different approaches adopted by these six candidates from the same political party, as he claimed their official candidates were those who successfully filed as CCC candidates.

“Well, what I can tell you is I cannot speak on their behalf. I can only speak on behalf of the party and yesterday we clarified that our candidates filed under the party. That is the official position of the party and those are the candidates of the party,” he said in an interview with CITE.

Mkhwananzi said there is a misconstrued narrative that their candidates should have contested as independent because of the High Court order that barred nine of their parliamentary candidates from the December 9, 2023 by elections.

He stated CCC filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against the December 7 High Court ruling, claiming the previous court order was suspended until the Supreme Court made a decision.

“We have appealed against the judgement that barred our candidates from the December 9 by elections and that appeal suspends the banning of candidates pending determination of the Supreme Court,” Mkhwananzi said.

“As it stands, that order is not in operation unless it is determined at any other time before the elections.”

Mkhwananzi said this stance was a principled position because CCC as sponsoring party, contested on August 23 and their members were unlawfully recalled.

“This party is led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa, it has the same signatories as it had when we went to the elections, it still has the same signatories and same candidates,” said the CCC spokesperson.

The CCC spokesperson claimed should their Supreme Court appeal go through, it meant a reversal of the processes that had taken place such as the banning of their recalled members from by-elections.

“If it’s a court order as issued by the court, they are bound to comply. That’s the whole purpose of going to court. If there is no compliance that is another issue that can be dealt with at a different platform. But we can’t jump the gun and deal with issues, which have not materialised on the ground,” Mkhwananzi said.

“As far as we know,  if there is a judgement by the courts. it doesn’t matter the cost, it doesn’t matter whatever. It should be complied with if we win that judgement at the Supreme Court. Actually we went to court so we can reverse those recalls because they are unlawful. That’s precisely what we are seeking the courts to do.”

According to Zimbabwe’s constitution, CCC candidates who filed as independents face recall if they campaign using the CCC party and pledge allegiance to Chamisa, who is the CCC leader.

Section 129 (1) (l) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that: “The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member, not having been a member of a political party when he or she was elected to Parliament, becomes a member of a political party.”

Meanwhile, the recalled CCC candidates who also filed nomination papers as CCC candidates risk being disqualified or having their names removed from the ballot papers because they would be defying a High Court order that said they should not run as CCC candies because they were expelled as members of that party, thus their recalls.

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