CCC candidate selection in focus as official choice defeated in Bulawayo

BULAWAYO – The Citizens Coalition for Change’s candidate selection process came into sharp focus on Saturday when the party’s official pick in Bulawayo’s ward 26 by-election lost to another party candidate who defied orders to withdraw.

Norman Hlabani – a three-term councillor – came third, with fewer votes than the Zanu PF candidate as they both lost to Mpumelelo Moyo, who also ran on a CCC ticket.

Moyo won with 748 votes over Zanu PF’s Lungisani Sibanda with 418 as Hlabani came third with 261.

Hlabani and Moyo ended up on the ballot paper after senior party officials separately signed their nomination forms.

The CCC, according to officials, had planned to introduce a new system of selecting candidates by doing public consultations with residents in a particular area instead of holding by-elections. The process was done in ward 26, covering Emganwini suburb, and Moyo emerged the popular choice.

The candidate selection procedure was however abandoned just before the nomination court sitting in January, and the party now insisted on former MDC Alliance MPs and councillors who were recalled to be left unchallenged and allowed to fight for re-election.

Moyo, following a meeting with party secretary general Charlton Hwende, initially agreed to withdraw but later changed his mind and kept his name on the ballot. It was a risky move which could have split the CCC vote and gifted Zanu PF victory.

This must not be allowed to happen again,” CCC treasurer David Coltart tweeted on Sunday.

Hlabani told ZimLive he was “comfortable” with the outcome, but was disappointed he was not the only candidate.

“This whole debacle lies on the shoulders of the top leadership. It’s their duty to give direction. I’m loyal to the party, but sometimes it pays in a different way,” Hlabani told ZimLive outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Ward 26 command centre at Senzangakhona Primary School.

“There is chicanery which has been played by people who are in leadership wanting to examine their leadership powers. It’s like bulls wanting to exercise their powers, ultimately it’s the grass that suffers.”

Moyo said: “It’s the people who have won, the CCC has won. Of course some of our people had confidence in Hlabani and other candidates, but as a leader I want to unite Mganwini and work for the development of the area.

“From the beginning I was assigned to be the candidate by the leadership. There’s no controversy at all in the people’s minds. I’m the rightful candidate who has won the hearts and minds of the people of Mganwini and the result speaks for itself.”

The CCC also had another double candidate headache in ward 4 in Masvingo where the party failed to persuade Thokozile Muchuchuti to withdraw in favour of the party’s preferred candidate, Aleck Tabe.

In the end, Tabe won there with 660 votes as Muchuchuti came third with 284 votes. Zanu PF’s Richard Madyavanhu was second with 464.

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa told a campaign rally on March 5 that in future elections he will sign all their candidates’ nomination papers to avoid the double candidate debacle, but critics said it could prove impractical.

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