The newly-formed Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday submitted double candidates to stand in at least two municipal by-elections in Bulawayo, exposing differences in the party’s top echelons.
The four candidates were accepted by the nomination court sitting in Bulawayo in Wards 9 and 26 ahead of the by-elections set for March 26.
Norman Hlabani, who was a councillor for ward 26 before being recalled by the MDC-T, successfully filed his papers but Mpumelelo Moyo was also accepted.
In ward 9, Donaldson Mabutho – recalled as councillor in September 2020 – was accepted as a candidate for the CCC as was Bekithemba Nyathi.
Hlabani and Mabutho had their paperwork signed by the party’s deputy national chairman Job Sikhala and secretary-general Charlton Hwende, while vice president Professor Welshman Ncube and Siphiwe Ncube reportedly approved Moyo and Nyathi.
While Hwende said he was “trying to find out exactly what happened,” Professor Ncube said:
The question you should ask is: who signed for the candidate who was overwhelmingly rejected by the people? It wasn’t me. You keep asking the wrong question.
Hlabani claimed there was an uneasy “power-sharing” arrangement in the party which was causing confusion.
Hlabani said he was concerned that the development will affect the party leadership’s chances of succeeding in elections.
Mabutho, meanwhile, accused Professor Ncube of saying he signed for the other candidates when Hwende and Sikhala had sigh=ned for the other two.
The CCC did not hold primary elections. Instead, the party’s leadership came up with a new mechanism where candidates are selected through “stakeholder engagement.” Candidates who held the seats before their recalls, meanwhile, felt they deserved another shot to reclaim the seats – creating conflict with the new candidate selection process.