The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party finds itself in turmoil as a group of councillors in Kariba have openly defied the directives of that party leader Nelson Chamisa and his associates, leading to an unexpected mayoral election outcome.
The defiance has raised questions about that party's internal cohesion and the extent of Chamisa's influence.
A reliable source within the CCC revealed that the controversy unfolded when councillors in Kariba refused to adhere to an imposed directive to nominate and vote for George Masendu as mayor. Instead, they nominated Ralph Maoneyi, a move that infuriated Chamisa and sent shockwaves throughout that party.
The source disclosed, "There has been defiance here in Kariba; somebody else nominated Ralph Maoneyi, and the councillors went ahead to vote for him, saying that he was a better candidate for the position unlike the one who was Chamisa’s preference for nomination."
The unexpected twist in the mayoral election saw George Masendu receive only five votes, while Ralph Maoneyi secured seven, ultimately clinching the mayoral position.
The same source added that this decision by the councillors to go against the party's leadership comes in the wake of continued imposition by Chamisa and his inner circle.
The source said many CCC members have expressed their frustration at being compelled to vote for individuals favoured by that party's leadership.
"Some of the councillors were not having it. They claimed to be tired of the imposition by the leadership and were saying that we are now going to be deciding as a consensus people that are fit to be in certain positions because, honestly, we know better," the source added.
Meanwhile, it is not just in Kariba where Chamisa's directive on mayoral positions faced resistance. Last week, councillors from Victoria Falls' CCC opted to deviate from Chamisa's directive. Instead of supporting Ward 1 Councillor, Ephias Mambume, for the mayoral seat and Ward 8 Councillor, Priscila Mhlanga, as his deputy, as Chamisa had instructed, they chose a different path.
Such acts of defiance, repeated across various local authorities, have led some political analysts to speculate whether Chamisa is gradually losing his grip over the CCC party.