What is going on with Zimbabwe’s opposition?

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For anyone who follows Zimbabwe, the past few weeks have been a blur. The country and its people are yet again reeling from a flawed and violent election, an economy in perpetual tailspin, and punishing corruption that even prevented the national football team from taking the pitch in Africa’s Cup of Nations. Perhaps the biggest story on people’s’ minds, however, has been the rapid implosion of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

On 25 January, the CCC’s longtime leader, Nelson Chamisa – the party’s presidential candidate during the last two election cycles – abruptly resigned, alleging that its structures and leadership had been ‘contaminated’ and ‘hijacked.’ This announcement brought further confusion to a party already in disarray, since opposition lawmakers are now torn between following Chamisa in his walkout or staying put. Predictably, the resulting leadership vacuum has triggered a heated succession battle while fanning the flames of innuendo, conspiracy, and internal competition.

Our Twitter Space on Thursday February 8 brought together well-informed analysts to pierce the fog that currently hovers over the situation. It was also a conversation that centered Zimbabwean citizens and their aspirations.

Listen now by clicking here.

The panel

Hopewell Chin’ono

Hopewell Chin’ono is an award-winning and influential Zimbabwean journalist. He exposed multiple corruption scandals within the Zimbabwean government, currently led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power by means of a military coup in November 2017. Hopewell has been arrested and jailed multiple times due to his work, yet remains an outspoken advocate for truth and accountability.

Chipo Dendere

Chipo Dendere is a Zimbabwean academic and a thought leader on African politics. She has published influential work on a range of topics– from the power of social media to the financing of opposition political parties. Currently, she is a Consortium for Diversity Post-Doctoral Fellow at Amherst College where she teaches courses on African Politics and Democratization in the Developing World.

Glanis Changachirere

Glanis Changachirere is the Founding Director of the Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD), as well as the founding Regional Coordinator of the African Women Leaders Forum. Recently, she was a recipient of the 30 Under 30 Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy due to her pioneering work on young women’s political participation in Zimbabwe.

Stephen Chan

Stephen Chan, a former international civil servant, is today one of the best-known writers on African politics — and Zimbabwe in particular — as a professor of world politics at SOAS, University of London. His illustrious career includes helping to pioneer modern electoral observation, publishing 35 books, and winning the 2010 International Studies Association Prize for Eminent Scholar in Global Development.

Mantate Mlotshwa

Mantate Mlotshwa is a passionate advocate for the meaningful contribution of women and youth to democracy and governance processes. The Founder of the creative brand U Motle, she has earned a reputation for speaking her mind and promoting positive messages of liberation and emancipation in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Nic Cheeseman

Nic Cheeseman is the Professor of Democracy and the Director of the Centre for Elections Democracy Accountability and Representation (CEDAR) at the University of Birmingham. As well as the author of Democracy in Africa and How to Rig an Election, he is the editor of Democracy in Africa, a columnist for Africa Today and the Mail&Guardian, a contributing editor to The Continent, and an election junkie.

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