Democratic Union of Zimbabwe (DUZ) leader, Robert Chapman, the latest entrant in the race for the Zimbabwe presidential seat, has turned down overtures for him to join the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.
Chapman, who was born in Chinhoyi, entered the political scene with the intention of challenging the power of Zanu PF and that of the opposition movement, both of which he claims have failed Zimbabweans.
The slogan of Chapman’s campaign is “prosperity, justice and modernisation.”
After Chapman announced that he was running for president because people are “tired of living in poverty and that prosperity is possible,” one of the CCC senior members, Senator David Coltart, asked why he is not joining the opposition party.
Coltart argued that if Chapman runs alone in the presidential election, he will divide votes.
“At the outset I wish to affirm your Constitutional right to stand for President. My only questions, Sir, are: One – Do you realise that all you are going to do is divide those opposed to ZANU PF, which benefits ZANU PF and no one else? Two – Why not rather join and strengthen CCC?” Coltart said .
In response, Chapman claimed he already tried to join the CCC but was given an unsatisfactory answer.
“Already tried and was told I would be given “goat skinning” duties. Seriously, I was actually told this, lol. See you on the campaign trail!” he said.
Chapman also highlighted the internal vices that were affecting the opposition party.
“Hello Honourable, thank you for the note. Your questions are valid but possibly should be addressed internally in your organisation. What you are asking I’ve answered. Internal dialogue in your organisation may be centred around toxicity, fighting, corruption within and elitism,” Chapman said, adding it would have been ideal for Coltart to reach out to him directly than on social media.
“Matching ideologies would be addressed. As a seasoned politician, I would have hoped you could have reached out directly/back channelled. However, maybe the comments shed a moment of reflection for the organisation to attract people including alliances. Stay well and blessed.”
Reacting to the exchange between the two politicians, some Twitter users also pointed out that CCC needs to promote its policies and demonstrate that it is a viable organization rather than begging people to join it.
“As you said it’s his right to run. It’s up to CCC to show why he is not the right candidate. If there is concern that he will split the vote then CCC must do more work for the voters likely to pivot to him. It means those voters need something that CCC isn’t giving,” said Chipo Dendere.
Other people pointed out CCC has no structures, so Chapman could not join them.
Users also noted the internal fractures within the movement, with Kuda Musasiwa saying
“Because there is NO space in the current “structures”. The gatekeepers will ruin him and reputational damage will be huge. The hangers-on will not accept him. The entitled won’t allow him. Simple.”
Patrick McCosh also concurred that CCC must advertise itself and say why it was better as an opposition party.
“Why not say why CCC is better….seems there is no CCC policy other than criticising ZANU PF and anyone else who might want to enter politics as an Independent. Who knows …Robert Chapman might be better than Nelson Chamisa …who is not showing visible signs of leadership or strength.”
Coltart indicated that CCC had released “several policy statements since its formation but accepted that the party has an obligation to issue a manifesto.
“Aside from that your comments regarding leadership and strength are unfortunate given the remarkable leadership and bravery of so many under fire for years,” said the former minister.
However, some were of the view that Chapman’s entry into politics was ill-timed.
“This man really came at the wrong time, knowing a lot of Zimbabweans are going to switch to his side and that will benefit Zanu PF,” said one user.