The newly formed opposition party (CCC) wins majority seats in by-elections – Zimbabwe


A newly formed opposition party won the majority of parliamentary seats in Zimbabwe’s hotly contested by-elections held on Saturday.

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), registered in January this year, won 19 seats out of 28 national assembly seats. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF got the remaining nine seats in what was dubbed a “mini general election” because of the large number of seats up for grabs.

Partial results also showed that the CCC, led by 44-year-old Nelson Chamisa, was headed for a landslide victory in 122 local government elections held concurrently with the parliamentary polls.

Zimbabwe had delayed the by-elections since 2020 following a ban on polls due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The parliamentary and local government vacancies arose after a faction of the country’s then-largest opposition party MDC Alliance whose 2018 presidential election candidate was Mr Chamisa, was controversially allowed to recall elected representatives.

Mr Chamisa moved to form CCC after his group was stripped of State funding, party headquarters and other properties.

“The by-election has shown that ultimately all authority comes from the citizens,” the opposition leader wrote on Twitter following his party’s victory.

“Citizens are above politicians and their foolish politics,” he added. “Why did you waste national resources and taxpayers’ money?

“Would these resources not have been deployed to better our health and education sectors?”

In the run-up to the polls, seen as a dry run for next year’s general elections, CCC drew large crowds at rallies often disrupted by security forces.

Police stopped Mr Chamisa from holding four major rallies ahead of the by-elections citing that President Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF had campaign activities within the vicinity of the proposed venues.

There was also widespread violence against CCC supporters by State security agents and Zanu PF members during the campaigns.

On February 27, when the campaigns began, suspected Zanu PF supporters stormed a CCC rally in the city of Kwekwe, which was being addressed by Mr Chamisa and attacked people with machetes, beer bottles, iron bars, spears and bricks.

At least one person was killed, and 17 others were injured in the incident.

The vicious attack took place after Vice President Constantino Chiwenga told a Zanu PF rally in the same city that his party would “crush” CCC “like lice.”

In next year’s elections, President Mnangagwa (80), who has been in power since a 2017 military coup that toppled the late Robert Mugabe, will be seeking a second term.

He will face Mr Chamisa, who he narrowly beat in the disputed 2018 elections.