THE drama surrounding two letters to Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Minister of Local Government Winston Chitando recalling 15 CCC legislators and 17 Councillors by party secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu continues to unravel, with information gathered by this publication revealing that the move was a ploy by the humiliated Tendai Biti to take complete control of the opposition’s presidency.
Biti, one of CCC’s ‘vice-presidents’ and Nelson Chamisa’s arch rival, was thumped in humiliating fashion during the party’s shambolic primary elections, which employed the archaic ‘Bereka Mwana’ strategy which the embattled party touted as ‘strategic ambiguity’ on June 18 2023.
Biti subsequently lost to Chamisa’s preferred candidate, Allan Markham.
Impeccable sources in the CCC claimed then that Chamisa had facilitated Biti’s downfall to stave competition from the ‘vice-president’ who had the backing of the opposition party’s founders and funders from the West.
Since then, relations between the two have soured, with Biti said to have withheld his funding for training of polling agents in protest to his embarrassing defeat by Markham ahead of the August 23 harmonised elections. This move severely crippled Chamisa’s futile quest to tarnish the results of those polls through a court challenge that has since suffered a stillbirth due to lack of evidence.
It has also emerged that Biti is angling for a dramatic comeback he became famous for after openly challenging the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai whom he derisively called ‘Gumbura’. He called him to step down as leader of the opposition party soon after its drubbing by ZANU PF in the July 31 2013 elections.
Part of his plan involves culling alleged Chamisa’s loyalists and pushing for congress which the party leader has been deftly avoiding through his ongoing nationwide tour to drum up ‘support’ against his ‘enemies’.
Hence Tshabangu’s letters.
“Kindly be advised that the following Members of the National Assembly were elected under Citizens Coalition for Change political party, and have seized (sic) to be Members of Citizens Coalition for Change party,” said Tshabangu in a letter to Advocate Mudenda dated October 3.
The recalled MPs are Pashor Sibanda (Cowdray Park), Ereck Gono (Lobengula Magwegwe), Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma Mzilikazi) Obert Manduna (Nketa), Mlilo Sitabile (P.R), Jasmine Toffa (P.R.), Janeth Dube (P.R.), Evidence Zana (Youth Qouta), Morgan Ncube (Beitbridge West), Nomathemba Sibanda (P.R.), Velisiwe Nkomo (P.R.), Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North), Bright Moyo Vanya (Lupane East) and Mabvuku Tafara MP Febion Kufahakutizwi.
The same letter, recalling Shepherd Sithole, Nkosinathi Hove-Mpofu,Donaldson Mabutho, Takunda Madzana, Simbarashe Dube, Tinevimbo Maphosa, Thobeka Moyo, Arnold Batirai, Sarah Cronje, Mhizha Tabeth, Dorcas Sibanda, Zibusiso Tshongwe, Granger Nyoni, Gugu Ncube, Maundura Mbiri, Shantel Chiwara and Anna Sande, was written to Minister Chitando.
Typically, CCC dismissed the recalls, instead resorting to its tired strategy of pointing accusing fingers at ZANU PF.
But Biti’s people are adamant that Chamisa imposed his cohorts during the party’s primary elections and must thus go.
They claim they have both the financial muscle and support to remove Chamisa; a move they say also has the backing of some Western powers that believe CCC lacks both clout and intellect to remove ZANU PF from power.
Underground mobilisation within the party, they said, has commenced in earnest.
That does not, however, make Biti a saint in all this.
Biti is a polarising presence in the country gleefully doing the bidding of his Western handlers.
The West itself is a relentless pest, an overrated menace and a danger to a Zimbabwe that is presently on a carefully crafted trajectory of empowering its citizens and developing the economy using local resources.
However, context, as always, is key.
“There is no prize for guessing that he (Tshabangu) is a Biti man through and through. You can clearly see Biti’s fingerprints all over those letters, never mind the grammatical error which could have been deliberate,” said a source who indicated that several meetings plotting Chamisa’s downfall have taken place at several locations in Harare over the past few weeks.
Biti’s people will be pushing vigorously for a congress in the coming weeks as they seek to finish off Chamisa, said the source.
They added that Biti is a ruthlessly ambitious character who believes he has the attributes to lead both CCC and Zimbabwe and that his time has arrived.
This is buttressed by the fact that his Western handlers largely view him as a figure who has the technocratic flair to pave the way for them to help themselves to the country’s resources.
Biti, said the source, was typically behaving like ‘an erupting volcano’ and soon the nation will be treated to ‘high octane drama’ in CCC.
Biti, of course, needs little encouragement to dislike Chamisa.
The source claimed that Chamisa was a key member of the anti-Tsvangirai cabal in 2014 only to change camps at the 11th hour, a betrayal that Biti has not forgiven.
On his part, Chamisa has done little to temper what is inevitably becoming routine for opposition parties in Zimbabwe post-election haggling and tussling for positions, particularly the party presidency, a position that the beleaguered Chamisa, buoyed by the US$2,5 million EU election money he helped himself to, is clinging on to desperately.
He is not sitting back though.
Currently, CCC election agents are being paid a paltry US$23 and US$15 to bring forward V11 forms which Chamisa and his noisy cohorts claimed they had soon after their August 23 mauling.
Chamisa’s camp intends to use the V11s to mount a ‘legitimacy’ challenge in the SADC region as part of their broader plan to douse the Biti inferno and to tarnish the August 23 polls.
Chamisa’s political world is crumbling around him and there is little, if anything, he can do about it.