The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says it will not be stampeded into revealing its August 23 election candidates by its opponents before it completes the selection process.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa pronounced that elections will be held on August 23.

CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the opposition party would not succumb to Zanu PF pressure to release the names of its candidates.

CCC abandoned primary elections and adopted what it described as a citizen-centred selection process where ‘ordinary citizens’ were given a chance to select representatives of their choice.

An independent selection panel led by human rights defender Rashid Mahiya is overseeing the selection process of the party’s candidates.

“What’s beyond doubt is that our candidate selection process is firmly within the time frames we had set for the completion of the process and we will have a full candidate list well in time for the nomination court, which is what the law requires,” Mahere said.

“Zanu PF is obsessed with trying to find out the internal workings of our organisation.

“Regrettably for them, they don’t get to dictate our timelines and manner of operation.

“Once all processes are complete, our candidate list will be announced at the appropriate time.

“This is one of the most important pillars for us to achieve our overarching goal, which is to secure a citizens’ victory for change.”

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa last week said the party’s candidate selection process was a “done deal”.

The nomination court is set for June 21.

Mahere told The Standard that the party would not rush to release the names of its candidates.

“It was never going to be an overnight process,” Mahere said.

“Selecting the right representative for each ward and constituency across the nation cannot be superficial or rushed.”

Chamisa will, for the second time, face off against bitter rival Mnangagwa who came into power after a coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017.

In by-elections held last year, a month after the party was formed, CCC won 19 of the 28 parliamentary seats on offer and the majority of 122 municipal seats.

CCC is an offshoot of the MDC Alliance and the Chamisa-led party was formed after Douglas Mwonzora controversially seized control of MDC-T following a Supreme Court ruling that said Morgan Tsvangirai’s succession was unconstitutional.

A poll by a London-based public relations organisation, the SABI Strategy Group, commissioned by the South African Brenthurst Foundation late last year said 53% of respondents said they would vote for the 45-year-old Chamisa while 40% said they would vote for the incumbent.

An Afrobarometer survey in February this year said the opposition enjoyed a four-point advantage (48%) over the ruling Zanu PF (44%) in voting preferences.

— The Standard