THE banning of Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party candidates led by opposition stalwart Nelson Chamisa from contesting in the by-elections held on Saturday is tragic for Zimbabwean politics and may lead to unintended civil disobedience and chaos.
The recalls, being ochestrated by Sengezo Tshabangu, who says he is the CCC interim secretary-general, have confirmed that Zimbabwe’s judiciary is heavily captured and that other oversight institutions such as Parliament are compromised.
Analysts also believe the CCC should now take a radical position, including pulling out of Parliament and councils.
CCC candidates performed well in the 23 and 24 August elections where they stopped Zanu PF from getting a desired two-thirds majority, which the party desperately wants.
Some well-resourced Zanu PF candidates lost the polls, sending a message that money does not always buy votes.
In Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park constituency, the CCC’s Pashor Sibanda defeated Finance minister Mthuli Ncube despite his swanky campaign marked by a massive rollout of glitzy projects.
In Mabvuku-Tafara, Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi (CCC) also did the same by outshining wealthy gold baron Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya. Sakupwanya has however strolled into Parliament after Kufahakutizwi was barred by the courts from contesting.
Kufahakutizwi and Sibanda join other popular CCC candidates who were banned from contesting after the courts ruled in Tshabangu’s favour, when they sought to challenge the recalls.
In President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s playbook, this is designed to edge the ruling Zanu PF closer to a one-party state despite the fact that two million people voted for the opposition CCC in the 23 and 24 August election.
A large number of Zimbabweans are not happy with this callous disregard of their vote as Mnangagwa consolidates his grip on power.
Analysts say even the late president Robert Mugabe did not plunge to those depths in disregarding democracy.
Academic and publisher Ibbo Mandaza told The NewsHawks that all is not well in Zimbabwe’s politics right now.
“The whole recall saga has been as questionable as it is tragic for Zimbabwe’s politics. It raises serious questions about the complicit role of the executive, not to mention the judiciary and the Speaker of Parliament, in a campaign designed to destroy any semblance of the formal opposition and a return, by design or inadvertently, to the one-party state.
“All said, do those involved in this nefarious campaign really understand the serious implications attendant? It’s sad, tragic indeed,” he said.
When asked what the CCC must do under the circumstances, Mandaza was coy.
“That question is for Chamisa and his team,” he said.
Stephen Chan, a professor of worls politicd based at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said the CCC must take a radical stance.
“It is too late for the CCC to find new candidates. All it can seek to do is to take the radical step of temporarily ‘expelling’ the candidates on the understanding that they will reapply to join the party after the elections, i.e. that they seek to stand as independents— if the detail of the court ruling permits.
“But the trap set by Tshabangu continues to be sprung. One would expect a vigilant CCC to have a contingency plan on standby,” he said.
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu told The NewsHawks: “I said it before and just repeating myself …my position remains that CCC has no business in this Parliament and councils. The courts, Zec, and all state institutions are politically captured and compromised and until CCC realises that the struggle for democratisation has to take different formats, then this is the end result,” he said.
The question that boggles the mind is: Are citizens prepared to hand Zanu PF a two-thirds majority on a silver platter?
With a two-thirds majority, as is now likely after the banning of CCC candidates, Zanu PF will be able to wantonly amend the national constitution, including presidential term limits.
It could mean Mnangagwa may just manage to grab another term.
In Parliament, a two-thirds majority will enable Zanu PF to shun accountability and transparency, to the detriment of governance.
Zimbabwean politics has reached a new low.