Misleading and immature! – says CCC after ZEC removes opposition candidates from by-election ballot

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By Staff Reporter

OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has dismissed the claims made by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) that their candidates have been barred from contesting in the upcoming by elections.

In a statement party spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi described ZEC’s announcement as false, inaccurate, misleading, and premature.

“Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) wishes to inform members of the public that the statement by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) alleging that our candidates have been barred and therefore Zanu PF candidates have been duly elected following the high court ruling of the 19th of January 2024 is false, inaccurate, misleading and premature,” said Mkwananzi.

“We are still well within the stipulated timeline to lodge our appeal with the Supreme Court as provided for by the law.

“We are going to lodge the appeal within the stipulated timeframe and our candidates, voters, supporters and members of the public are advised to forge on with their campaigns and preparations as planned and scheduled,” he added.

Mkwananzi called out ZEC saying the electoral body should remain independent and objective in its mandate.

“We urge the Zimbabwe Election Commission to endeavour to acquit itself with the highest level of professionalism, independence and objectivity.

“We do not expect the electoral management body to recklessly jump the gun in matters of such national significance as this further diminishes ZEC’s already questioned standing as credible arbiter in national electoral contestations-a point already belaboured by the opposition, civil society and all electoral observer missions that participated in the disputed August 23, 2023 general elections.”

Before the statement by the opposition, ZEC Chief Elections Officer, Utloile Silaigwana, announced, in a statement that a High Court ruling made on January 19, 2024, had nullified the candidature of five CCC members.

“The public is hereby informed that following a High Court Order issued on the 19th of January 2024 under Case No. HCH197/24, the nomination of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party candidates specified in Schedule 1 below who had been nominated for election in by-elections scheduled for the 3rd of February 2024 has been set aside,” said Silaigwana in a statement.

Initially, the affected candidates, according to Silaigwana are Musingashari Mushingashari and Roger Chinyoke both from Chiredzi.

Others included Ian Makone and Samuel Gwenzi who were set to contest in Wards 18 and 5 respectively were also removed from the ballot.

The fifth candidate, according to Silaigwana’s statement is Innocent Haparari who was set to contest in Manyame ward 7.

As a result, ZEC’s statement announced that Zanu PF’s Mombe Costen and Mahiya Brighton had been elected as councillors for wards 6 and 7 respectively.

In Harare, Silaigwana said Abdurrrahman Sapa and Daniel Matsika had been duly elected to represent Wards 5 and 18 respectively while Simbarashe Ngarande will be Manyame RDC ward 7 councillor.

CCC has been rocked by internal fights after self-appointed secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu initiated a series of recalls.

Tshabangu has also challenged the nomination of some CCC candidates in court which has resulted in several forfeitures by the opposition party.

In Mabvuku-Tafara, Zanu PF Pedzisai Sakupwanya got the parliamentary seat uncontested after Tshabangu successfully challenged CCC’s Kufahakutizwi’s nomination.

Since October Tshabangu has recalled more than 50 MPs and councillors from their respective public offices under the pretence that they had ceased to be party members.

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa has since branded Tshabangu as an impostor while insisting that the opposition outfit does not have structures nor the position of SG.