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The So-Called Citizens Convergence for Change Has Not Fielded A Single Candidate In The By-Elections


By Alex Magaisa


In the natural world, some species survive through parasitic behaviour. Since they have neither roots nor leaves, they find a host from which they draw nutrients. They might even kill the host before moving on to another host. They are the quintessential free-riders.




Some non-venomous snakes mimic the colours of their venomous counterparts. This confuses predators. This behaviour is also evident in other fields. In politics, individuals without any political capital may set up outfits that mimic bigger political players.




This is a useful context to examine the claims of an outfit calling itself Citizens Convergence for Change which is challenging the Citizens Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa. The clue is in the timing of the so-called Citizens Convergence for Change’s emergence.




The obscure outfit emerged when Chamisa’s party, then operating as the Citizens Coalition for Changewas pushing its agenda for the year 2021 whose theme was Citizens Convergence for Change. There’s a pattern to it: for 2022 it’s Citizens Action for Change.





That was when this obscure outfit wrote a letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission claiming the name Citizens Convergence for Change, clear parasitic behaviour. If anything, the outfit is guilty of plagiarism or intellectual theft.




To appreciate the motives of the move and its absurdity, since the theme of the Citizens Coalition for Change for this year is Citizens Action for Change, some idiot can just wake up & write a letter to ZEC saying they have a new party called Citizens Action for Change (CAC)!





The claims are based on key misconceptions. The first is that ZEC registers parties and an arbiter of name disputes. Legally, ZEC has no such role. When ZEC acknowledges such a letter, it’s just courtesy. It has no legal significance. ZEC does not register or licence parties.






This outfit calling itself Citizens Convergence for Change claims that the Citizens Coalition for Change will cause confusion among its supporters. This reasoning is misplaced because it can only be made by a party in the context of a nomination process.




Section 46 of the Electoral Law states allows a nomination officer to reject a party’s symbol or abbreviation where it “closely resembles” the “recognised symbol or abbreviation” of another party in a way that is “likely to cause confusion”.




This is based on the assumption that the parties are contesting in the same election. There is no room for confusion where the complainant is not taking part in the election. The so-called Citizens Convergence for Change has not fielded a single candidate in the by-elections.





If anyone is trying to cause confusion, it is this dodgy outfit that was set up to mimic the theme of Citizens Coalition for Change in 2021. The purpose was to steal a brand that had already been made popular by the Citizens Coalition for Change in its former incarceration





If anyone is guilty of stealing an identity it is this briefcase outfit. Chamisa’s party could have legitimately chosen Citizens Convergence for Change as its name. It did not do so because “convergence” was too convoluted & it settled for the easier on the tongue “coalition”




Parasitic behaviour & mimicry exist in the natural world, but there are also versions in human activities. We have seen new businesses trying hard to mimic established brands. The same happens in politics. This is yet another nuisance brewed in an authoritarian context


Robert Tapfumaneyi