As the 2023 general election draws to a close in Zimbabwe, one of its main opposition parties is still battling with candidates’ selection.
While Zanu PF’s candidate list was made public before the proclamation of the polls, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) electorate remains in the dark on who they will vote for.
The Nelson Chamisa led outfit born out of a struggle for the MDC brand in 2022 has already endeared itself with the masses, winning majority seats in last year’s by elections.
Their yellow brand has offered renewed hope for Zimbabweans suffering decades of economic hardship.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa who took power in the 2017 coup that toppled Robert Mugabe is seeking a second term and has already named his team ahead of polls.
Although Zanu PF internal processes were also marred with infighting and bickering, the party has agreed on who will represent its interests in the August plebiscite.
But it’s main rival CCC only has a presidential candidate and nothing more.
Party officials say the final list will be ready by June 21.
Internally, CCC is still grappling with admin issues, which have stalled the candidate selection process.
To avoid perceived infiltration by suspected Zanu PF agents, the party opted for a “citizen-led” candidate selection process.
We will attempt to explain the selection process.
The process has four stages which include nomination of candidates, vetting, caucus and presentation of the final list.
What is novel about this process is how the CCC opened nomination to everyone including community leaders who were not necessarily active party members.
The vetting process, a rigorous security procedure to guard against infiltration was also conducted to determine one’s political standing.
During the CCC candidates’ selection process, those perceived to be planted by Zanu PF were disqualified, despite having a resounding majority during nomination.
The process was arguably used to settle past scores where some members who had jumped ship sought to worm their way back into the party.
This saw a number of former party members falling by the wayside, especially in Bulawayo.
Chamisa’s new strategy seeks to ring fence his party from infiltration which rocked the then MDC in the late 2000s.
To avoid double candidates filing for nomination on June 26, CCC will have a centralized signing for candidates, party officials say.
The party has been rocked by double candidates in the past, which considerably split votes.
Although on paper the process looks simple, observers say it has stalled.
By now the party supporters should know who will represent them in the upcoming polls.
Stalling this process only gives Zanu PF an upper hand.
Aside of the repression, the ruling party has been on the campaign trail since late last year, with its presence also being felt in the urban areas, a traditional stronghold for the opposition.
It is also apparent that Zanu PF has the state machinery at its disposal, including state resources to fund the election campaign.
This among other reasons will give the party an edge over the CCC, as it looks to extend its 43-year-old stranglehold on power.
CCC is running against time to finalize the selection process and get on the campaign trail where a few hurdles are likely to hamper its mission to unshackle Zimbabwe from Zanu PF grip.
All odds are against the new political party, but CCC could help themselves by finalizing candidates as soon as possible.
The clock is ticking.
This article is part of The NewsReportLive Election series, Project ZivaI ,Get Informed