POLITICAL analysts yesterday hailed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa for supporting the land reform programme saying that it showed that his new political outfit was different from the MDC.

This was after the youthful leader during the weekend launch of his party’s March 26 by-election campaign in Highfield, Harare, stated that he was in support of the land reform programme, except the violent takeover of land.

“I have come back to say Mugabe (the late former President Robert Mugabe), Nkomo (the late former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Tsvangirai (the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai) and Dabengwa (the late Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa), I have commenced finishing the work you started in Zimbabwe,” Chamisa said.

“Triple C means Chimurenga CheZimbabwe Chechina. The first Chimurenga was a revolutionary uprising. The Second Chimurenga was about freedom and the Third Chimurenga was about giving land back to the people of Zimbabwe. I unreservedly agree with the land reform minus the other challenges of violence, but the fourth Chimurenga is now about restoring citizens’ dignity, freedom, liberation and democracy stolen by politicians,” he said.

Before Chamisa formed a new political party last week, his former party the MDC was critical of the land reform programme, which resulted in it being called “puppets of the West” by Zanu PF.

Chamisa said the CCC had rebranded.

Political analyst Methuseli Moyo said:  “This shows that the CCC is aware that land is crucial to the politics of Zimbabwe and the party must, therefore, establish an authentic, intimate relationship with the issue and by extension the majority of voters. That is a progressive move by CCC. Its predecessor, the MDC portrayed itself as anti-land reform and that retarded its appeal to a large section of voters,” political analyst Methuseli Moyo said.

Another analyst Farai Maguwu said: “There is need to rationalise land reform and ensure our land is productive again while also resettling the landless who are still many. The speech resonated with the aspirations of Zimbabweans.”

Farai Maguwu

Political commentator Vivid Gwede said:  “Chamisa’s backing of the land reform is a significant standpoint as Zanu PF had always constructed the main opposition as anti-land reform to escape criticism on how the land question was handled.  The fact of the opposition backing the land reform in principle, but not the way it was done is a significant standpoint and not entirely new as it dates back to the Tsvangirai-led MDC.”

Gwede said it was imperative for the CCC party to clarify its policy stance on the land issue.

“The CCC party seeks to continue the tradition of the liberation movement, albeit against internally and indigenously fermented authoritarianism. As already acknowledged by the CCC leader Chamisa, the outfit’s ideological outlook remains to be further elaborated after consultations. This is an opportunity for the new party to build a broader new and contemporary consensus.”

Scholar Nhamo Mhiripiri added: “A mixture of a break with the past and continuation of elements of the past to form the present and shape the future is inbuilt in projects that appeal to the masses. It is not surprising that CCC and Chamisa are trying to adopt a radical image that claims Chimurenga, liberation and land reform. Perceived rejection of these has been the weak spot of the opposition’s ideologies.”

Nhamo Mhiripiri

Mhiripiri said if CCC were to be genuine in its repackaging, it needed more than reclaiming the liberation history and icons, but to position itself as pan-Africanist and to the left of Zanu PF, adding that if the opposition continued with neo-liberal approaches, it would be dismissed as mere puppets of the West.

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