CCC implosion looms

Chris Mahove

Political analysts have warned of a possible implosion of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party ahead of the 2023 elections amid threats by the party leader Nelson Chamisa that he will punish sitting legislators for defying his directive for them not to accept the USD40 000 housing loans awarded by parliament.

Parliament last week extended housing loans totaling USD 14 million to all the 370 legislators from both the Lower and Upper houses triggering rebuke by some hardliners in the opposition party, including Chamisa, who reacted by saying that his MPs had ‘crossed the line’ by accepting them.

Sources within the party say the issue could have serious repercussions for the party as some members, especially those with longstanding ambitions for parliamentary office, who are now calling for the ouster of those that ‘betrayed the people’ by accepting ‘dirty’ money at the expense of the people they purport to serve.

“Those angling for parliamentary posts have been waiting on the wings for an opportunity; and it has presented itself and they are now pushing for the ouster of the sitting MPs, not so much because of principles, but because they have seen an opportunity and want to take it,” a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Review & Mail.

“Those are the people who are now influencing the president to disqualify all those who took the money, most of them who happen to be senior members of the party,” the source added.

Political analyst, Effie Ncube said if not handled properly, the loans issue could cause serious instability within the CCC, and something which he said would not be in the party’s best interests.

“Therefore Advocate Chamisa needs to sit down with his Parliamentary Caucus and come to an amicable agreement which will take into account all views. The matter will pit one side versus the other. Those looking for an opportunity to be the next MPs will use the loans issue as an advantage while those who will take the loans will resist. Maturity is needed,” he said.

Opposition LEAD President, Linda Masarira said there was already a rift within the CCC and it was just a matter of time before the party split, claiming Chamisa was also benefitting from the loans through the MP’s

“That directive is just for the media and to set a normative leverage agenda. When he tweeted about people being given money, he knew already that the MPs were going to be given USD40000 loans. Word from sources within his party say that he has actually demanded 10% of the USD40000 loan from every MP,” she claimed.

She added that the loans were going to make voters think twice about going to vote come 2023 elections.

“These loans are going to increase voter apathy in 2023. Civil Servants are going on pension after about 40 years of service aren’t even getting 5% of this USD 40 000. If government can pay USD 40 000 loans to 370 legislators, surely they can afford USD 540 salaries being demanded by civil servants,” she said.

However, another political analyst, Nunurai Zunidza said as things stood at the CCC, where there were no structures, it was unlikely that the controversial loans would split the party.

“The most senior party members in CCC after Chamisa appear to be the MPs. Therefore any split would mean Chamisa being left alone. In this context it would need Chamisa to pull the trigger on his naive MPs but he is well aware that by doing so he will only be shooting himself in the foot as he would be left with only  Rusty Markham for company in any separate outfit.

“The legislators are also conscious of the fact that Chamisa is their trump card to the electorate and cannot dare to dump him just yet. I foresee Chamisa and his MPs agreeing to disagree uneventfully and then continue their combined focus on the 2023 elections,” he said.

In 2005, the MDC then led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai split over whether the party should contest Senate elections following the re-introduction of the Senate by the ZANU PF dominated parliament.

Tsvangirai, who was opposed to the idea, said his party officials who were for it were ‘off the rails’.

The disagreements resulted in the split which saw senior officials, including Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, ditching the veteran leader to start their own political parties.

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