BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday said winning the 2023 elections was a must for his Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party to preserve the late MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai’s legacy.
Tsvangirai passed away in 2018 aged 65 after battling colon cancer.
He came close to landing the country’s presidency when he outvoted the late former resident Robert Mugabe in the first round of balloting in March 2008.
Before the second round of voting, Mugabe launched a terror campaign led by State security agents, forcing Tsvangirai to pull out of the race citing persecution of his supporters.
Some 300 MDC supporters were killed in the bloody presidential election rerun held in June that year.
Mugabe declared himself the winner, but the international community and regional peers refused to recognise his victory, leading to a power sharing agreement with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.
Chamisa said the CCC “would complete Tsvangirai’s journey” when the country goes to the polls in 2023 where he is likely to face off with President Emmerson Mnangagwa who narrowly defeated him in the 2018 polls.
“I deeply miss my old man ‘Mdara Milo’. The Citizens won’t disappoint. We will complete the journey and deliver real change this time,” Chamisa tweeted yesterday.
His party won 19 of the 28 contested parliamentary seats against Zanu PF’s nine seats in by-elections held on Saturday.
CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba told NewsDay last night that CCC owed Tsvangirai a victory to honour him for the sacrifices he endured under Mugabe since the formation of the MDC in 1999.
Tsvangirai was beaten and arrested several times. He was also charged with treason after the State accused him of plotting to topple Mugabe.
The treason charges were later dropped.
“Tsvangirai’s last public address to Zimbabweans was that young people must take over. That the future is in the hands of the next generation, he mentored and produced the presidency we see today in Chamisa. He knew that the future was and is young,” Siziba said.
“The citizens are the source of our confidence. They are the source of any government. They have affirmed what they said in 2018 in the recent by-elections. No resistance can stop this idea of change. Change is on the horizon. The call for change has become a national chorus.
“It’s beyond CCC. It’s beyond Zanu PF. It’s about Zimbabwe. We won empathically, 19 seats out of 28. That is a landslide victory in a by-election where the voting appetite is low due to the fact that it’s not there to change a government.
“You can’t compare it with 2023 and people are ready to correct the national mistake by winning with a high margin, thus 2023 gives us that chance. No one wants to continue this lifestyle. The countryside is more conscious and organised than before. A new Zimbabwe promise must be delivered.”
Chamisa unveiled the CCC party in January after MDC T leader Douglas Mwonzora claimed the MDC Alliance name and symbols, leaving the former ICT minister with no party.
The MDC Alliance was formed by several political parties before Mwonzora wrested the name from Chamisa via the courts.
Chamisa contested the 2018 presidential election on the MDC Alliance ticket while Mwonzora’s former deputy Thokozani Khupe, used the MDC-T, once led by Tsvangirai.
The MDC-T then led by Khupe filed a court application and won the right to use the MDC Alliance name, a situation which resulted in Mwonzora becoming the party’s president following an extraordinary congress.
Chamisa’s CCC is party targeting six million votes in the next elections while its main rival, Zanu PF is targeting five million votes.