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Zimbabwe opposition leader forms new party

Shingai Nyoka BBC News, Harare

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

“We have lost everything except ourselves. If you want MDC Alliance, take it,” he said 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 announced 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 acting president unprocedurally following the death of 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 recognise Mr Mnagangagwa’s win, accusing him of stealing the election.

The MDC has been wracked by factional fights over the party name, symbols, properties and funding from parliament and 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 MP and 105 councillors seats in mainly opposition strongholds are up for grabs. Most of the vacancies arose when rival factions recalled those aligned to Mr Chamisa.

General elections are scheduled for 2023.

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