OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday said he is on course to upstage President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling Zanu-PF in next year's elections as he dismissed those criticising delays by the party to hold an elective congress.

Chamisa and his backers early this year formed CCC after Douglas Mwonzora's MDC-T controversially took over MDC Alliance assets and its elected representatives.

The 44-year-old leader was the MDC Alliance's presidential candidate in the 2018 elections where he narrowly lost to Mnangagwa.

Chamisa still refuses to recognise the Zanu-PF leader's election victory arguing that the polls were rigged.

Yesterday he told hundreds of CCC supporters at a rally in Gwanda that Zanu-PF had failed to stop the surge by the party, which won the majority of parliamentary seats and local government wards in by-elections held on March 26, barely two months after its formation.

"Zanu-PF stole all that we had including our name, red colour, MPs and our offices, but we said no let them take everything and we started afresh," Chamisa said.

"We have not launched our party, but just introduced it and Zanu-PF is afraid and we have put them on notice.

"CCC is the new kid on the block.

"Zanu-PF is plotting against us in terms of the congress, but we are ahead of them.

"Zanu-PF represents your suffering while CCC represents your happiness.

"Zanu-PF represents the chefs and CCC represents ordinary citizens."

Mwonzora claimed all the MDC names and symbols, including the colour red after a controversial Supreme Court ruling that said Chamisa's succession of the late Morgan Tsvangirai as party leader was irregular.

Councillors and legislators linked to Chamisa were also recalled from local government and Parliament, paving the way for the March 26 by-elections where the CCC won 19 of the 28 contested parliamentary seats.

Mwonzora got zero seats,while Zanu-PF won the remaining seats.

British Lord Jonathan Oates recently told the House of Lords that Mwonzora's MDC Alliance was not an independent political party, but a Zanu-PF project financed by the state.

Chamisa said the CCC will not be rushed into an elective congress.

"When choosing candidates for elections we will want those coming from citizens not from the top," he said.

"A lot of people ask why are you not having a congress, but we say stop that a bit.

"Once bitten twice shy. We know Zanu-PF is plotting against us, but we will ambush them and expose them.

"From now on we will be doing an underground movement.

"We want to be visible everywhere in rural areas, farms, mines and so forth.

"The liberation struggle was a citizen project but Zanu-PF hijacked it."

Chamisa also urged party supporters to register to vote in numbers to ensure a resounding victory in the 2023 polls.

"Let's go and register to vote and have bumper votes," he added.

"The only way to stop baboons from stealing in the fields is by having a bumper harvest.

"Zanu-PF is shaking, Mnangagwa is afraid."