INTERVIEW: Chamisa outlines ‘citizenocratic’ candidate selection; says nomination process kicks off this week

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By Alois Vinga

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) leader, Nelson Chamisa has broken down the party’s citizen-centric new candidate selection process, indicating the nomination process kicks off this week as the nation gears for the 2023 general elections.

This comes as main rivals, the ruling Zanu PF party, is currently polishing up its primary elections process after conducting the internal plebiscite last week.

CCC has since revealed that it is abandoning the “old fashioned” primary election candidate selection approach in favour of a system anchored on citizens’ consensus.

Challenged, in a wide ranging interview with Sunday, to shed more light on the practicality of hinging the candidate selection process on consensus, Chamisa said; “It is a brand new candidate selection process; it’s fresh.

“It’s novel and it’s modern and places the citizen at the centre of the process. Citizenocracy is government by the citizens. It’s a citizenocratic selection process.”

The opposition leader said the method comes at a time when citizens need quality representation from their representatives.

“Citizens want candidates to be selected on merit, integrity, dignity, suitability and accountability. Citizens prefer representatives who are visible, accessible and available,” he explained.

“Those leaders who regularly report back to constituencies and communities to get instructions and progress on policies and national priorities of public interest.

Opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa

“All these are going to be considered through a rigorous vetting panel that looks at these critical tests.

“In the event that we have more candidates nominated, citizens caucuses are convened. A citizen caucus is constituted by those who have subscribed to citizen philosophy and ideology in the constituency or in a particular ward.

“The process also involves wide consultation with stakeholders in that particular constituency or ward.”

Chamisa said the new process is also going to be complemented by the introduction of  Townhall Debates on policy as well as Constituency Citizens Debates which are a first of its kind.

“We are introducing citizens’ candidates’ policy debates where various contestants present their manifestos before the citizens finally make the decision,” he said.

Quizzed on how decisions will be made under the new system, Chamisa maintained that the entire process will be determined by the citizens.

“It will be the community consensus presided over by a Citizens Candidates Independent Selection panel. The citizens will interrogate the nominees. We call this manifesto pitching,” the CCC leader explained.

“Once complete it is citizens who then democratically choose their own candidates through a consensus. This is why we call this Democratic Community Consensus System.”

Challenged to divulge details on who exactly will spearhead these programs from national to ward level in the absence of party structures, the opposition leader dismissed the fears.

“Who said the citizens are not structured? The citizens are the structures across the whole country.

“Yes. The citizens are the structures and the citizens’ structure is the strongest in any country. In Fact, across the whole world,” he said.

On what safeguards have been put in place to guarantee citizens safe participation in these processes considering the opposition’s recent reports on disruption of meetings by ruling Zanu PF party supporters, Chamisa said citizens will be safe through both internal systems and external structures including the police.

“The nomination of candidates kicks off on Wednesday. That’s the first process. The difference between CCC and other parties is that we don’t want a person who comes to say I want to be in that position. This is not a process where you have to produce a C.V. That C.V. is derived by your contributions in the community.”

He added; “Your community track record is the qualification to be nominated.

“It is your service to the nation and we have criteria for that we are looking at three attributes on loyalty. You must pass that. The first is loyalty to the country. The second is loyalty to the people or the constituency.

“The third one is loyalty to God, the author of the universe. You can’t lead the people of God when you do not have a relationship with the God of the people.”