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Zimbabwe’s opposition leader ditches party to form a new party

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Nelson Chamisa, former leader of Zimbabwe’s biggest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has formed a new political party, ending years of leadership struggles that weakened the opposition.

“We have lost everything except ourselves. If you want MDC Alliance, take it,” he spewed as he announced the launch of the Citizen’s Coalition for Change (CCC).

It comes as rival factions inside the MDC Alliance announced last week that they would contest by-elections scheduled for March.

Mr. Chamisa – who won 44.3% of the votes in the 2018 presidential election against incumbent President, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 50.8% – was ousted as the MDC leader after the High Court, in 2020, ruled that he had been appointed as an acting President unprofessionally following the
death of the founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in 2018.

His supporters said the judgement was an attempt by Mr. Mnangagwa’s government to usurp the party. Mr. Chamisa has refused to recognize Mr. Mnagangagwa’s win, accusing him of cheating in the election.

The MDC has been wracked by factional fights over the party name, symbols, properties, and funding from parliament so many had advised Mr. Chamisa to start his own party in the run-up to the 2018 elections.

It is not clear whether CCC will contest by-elections in March, where 28 MPs and 105 councillor seats in, mainly, opposition strongholds are up for grabs. Most of the vacancies arose when rival factions recalled those aligned to Mr. Chamisa.