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Nelson Chamisa Leads Zimbabwean Political Party Rebranding 

On January 24th, 2022, Nelson Chamisa; politician, attorney, and the leader of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe introduced the newly rebranded Citizen’s Coalition for Change. This represented a shift from the party that was formerly known as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance to the new name. The new party, popularly referred to as CCC has chosen yellow as the color to represent it. It is a move away from the red that is associated with MDC Alliance. There has also been a change in the logo, with a hand raising its index finger the new logo. The rebrand took place in Harare, Zimbabwe. Chamisa was enthusiastic, emphasizing the point that the rebrand was a major development in Zimbabwean politics. “We are putting citizens back at the center. A new great Zimbabwe is being born. We are here, we are having a new entity, a new organization. We have left the past. We represent new hope, joy, freedom. The new baby is called Citizens Coalition for Change,” he said. 

Elias Mashayamombe, a political economist, expressed his perspective on the matter. “Citizens Coalition for Change was a move away from the MDC name. The party has split so many times since its inception, so doing away with the name was wise. It seems as though the new look has been well received, which is important as it indicates that the people are on Chamisa’s side. It might signal the death of the MDC as we know it. As for removing the Zimbabwe African Nation Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) from power, rebranding alone is not enough. So much has to be done in terms of electoral reform,” he said. Zadziso Garaba, another observer of Zimbabwean politics, also shared his views on the rebrand. “First and foremost, the rebranding was long overdue. To be honest, this name change was late. They should have done it a long time ago because in March 2022 we are heading for by-elections in Zimbabwe. But a change was necessary given the fact that ZANU-PF had hijacked the people’s movement, MDC Alliance. It had firmly entrenched itself within the core decision-making bodies. It has captured them and used them to further alienate people from the people’s movement. Moving forward, we need to educate people about CCC. We need to let them know that this is the party for the people, it is the party people want, and that this party represents the legacy of the late great Morgan Tsvangirai. We need to forget about the MDC and preach the gospel that is CCC going forward,” Garaba said. 

The Citizen’s Coalition for Change can be labeled as offspring of the MDC. The Movement for Democratic Change was founded in 1999 by the late Morgan Tsvangirai who Nelson Chamisa has repeatedly held up as his political leader and mentor. It has been the political party to bring strong opposition against ZANU-PF, the ruling party since Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980. MDC gave ZANU-PF a strong challenge in the Zimbabwean Parliamentary Elections of 2000. They managed to win a majority of the parliamentary seats for the urban and Ndebele-dominated areas. The party went through its first split in 2005. It was split into two factions, one faction that saw no point in participating in a senate election while the other faction deemed it necessary. Tsvangirai, who had been the face and leader of the MDC, branched off and started a splinter known as MDC-T. It continued being the main opposition until Tsvangirai’s death in February 2018. Another split took place and Nelson Chamisa took over leadership of the new splinter, MDC Alliance. Due to interference from Chamisa’s rivals, such as Douglas Mwonzora and Thokozani Khupe with the help of ZANU-PF, the new leader of CCC was forced once again to start anew.  

The rebranding of MDC Alliance to CCC is a welcome development to the Zimbabwean political scene. It is to be seen whether it will make the desired impact for Chamisa, the party, and more importantly, the people of Zimbabwe. 

 

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