Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa, has promised to deal with issues affecting the Matabeleland region as he wooed Bulawayo residents to back his party in the upcoming elections.
Chamisa emphasised that CCC was a new beginning for the opposition, a new party with new ideas.
Addressing thousands at the maiden CCC rally at White City Stadium on Saturday, Chamisa said he was a caretaker leader working with other champions to build a strong opposition party.
These ‘champions’ included senior party leaders including its three Vice presidents, Tendai Biti, Lynette Karenyi-Kore, Prof Welshman Ncube and its national chairperson, Thabitha Khumalo who attended the rally.
“Citizens are going to be the drivers of the movement and we have not launched nationally, this is just a provincial launch of the by-election. We are going to have new leadership, then launch and have all the other processes I’m going to tell you when we come back,” he said.
Chamisa told party supporters that they would be prioritised in the new party, especially on candidate selection.
“We don’t want candidates that are imposed, candidates must come from you to be MPs to be councillors,” he said and apologised for the double candidature fiasco that erupted during Nomination Court on January 26, 2022 where two wards fielded two candidates for the by-elections.
Chamisa stated he was pained by the absolute economic collapse of Bulawayo.
“This was a rich region and when I was doing my O’ level, I would come to Bulawayo, buy my clothing, as this was a manufacturing giant. Cattle ranching was key here and the Cold Storage Company was thriving but they have destroyed that. I was in Mpopoma Friday and saw that supermarket prices have gone up, people can’t afford hospital bills and there are no medical supplies,” Chamisa noted.
He told people that once in government, CCC would provide answers to challenges faced by Matabeleland.
“One, we are going to make sure we restore Matabeleland as the industrial capital of our land. Two, we are not going to use the Zambezi Water Project as a campaign gimmick but within three years of us in government, it will be completed,” said Chamisa.
“On Gukurahundi, I as a young leader will deal with it, bring truth and reconciliation. First, we have to accept there was a violation of our citizens. Bhalagwe must be made a memorial shrine and those who destroy plaques must stop as they have been erected by people who feel aggrieved. Stop abusing people of Matabeleland, give them the right to cry for their justice and change.”
Chamisa vowed to decentralise administration, saying Harare cannot be the centre of everything.
“Bulawayo must also be able to do certain things, have all national registration done in local areas. We must de-Harare-rise national products, de-Harare-rise national registration, de-Harare-rise policies of the government,” he said.
Since the party was new, Chamisa said CCC was going to hold a convention, adopt a constitution based on a citizens’ based ideology.
He also underlined that the door is open for people from other opposition parties to come join as the new movement is yet to choose party leaders.
“We have already told you we want to work with everyone progressive. I have seen on various platforms people talking about a lot of things but we are beginning afresh and from zero. We don’t have MPs or councillors but we are going to have the majority of MPs and councillors in Parliament and council. Yes, others are joining everyday, we represent half of the land and the beauty of the nation,” he said.
“We are very inclusive, we are burying the red party and have a new beginning. We are going to have a roadmap, mobilise every citizen because we want huge numbers. By 2023 we want every person to vote for change. It’s no longer about parties.”
Chamisa also called on other opposition parties to join them as they fought for change.
“We are saying to ZAPU, Lovemore Moyo come, let’s work together and to all those who are in the other parties to come. This is not about positions, it’s about the change we want for the people in Zimbabwe,” said the CCC leader.
“There is enough space for everyone. I know a lot of you are saying so and so, no! We want to make sure that we build a citizens coalition for change. But once bitten, twice shy, so we are going to make sure that we don’t allow Zanu PF to infiltrate us. We will tell comrades I’m working with that if you want to work with Zanu please go. those who are going to be bought with money, go.”