THE main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s move to proclaim by-election dates has exposed his hand in the recalls of its parliamentarians and councillors by self-proclaimed secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu (pictured), amid indications of Zanu PF machinations.
On Friday, Mnangagwa proclaimed 7 November as the date of the nomination court and 9 December as election day to fill vacancies created by the controversial recalling of nine opposition CCC legislators by Tshabangu.
“Whereas in terms of section 129 (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the seats of the members of Parliament for Beitbridge West, Binga North, Bulawayo South, Cowdray Park, Lobengula-Magwegwe, Lupane East, Mabvuku-Tafara, Mpopoma-Mzilikazi and Nketa have become vacant by reason of ceasing to be members of CCC of Morgan Ncube, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, Nicola Jane Watson, Pashor Raphael Sibanda, Ereck Gono, Bright Moyo Vanya, Febion Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi, Desmond Makaza and Obert Manduna on the 9th of October, 2023,” reads the proclamation.
“And whereas it is provided by Section 39 (2) of the Electoral Act, that after the President has been notified in terms of the said section of vacancies in the membership of Parliament, he shall issue a proclamation ordering a new election to fill the vacancies in the same manner, mutual standis, as is provided in Section 38 of the said act in regard with the election.”
Earlier this month, Tshabangu raised eyebrows after he wrote to Parliament recalling 15 CCC legislators and 17 councillors, a position which he has upheld by both Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and Local Government minister Winston Chitando.
In a statement, the CCC said that Mnangagwa’s endorsement of the recalls through the by-election proclamation has uncovered his hand in the recalls.
“It has come to our attention that Mr Mnangagwa has issued a proclamation to announce a date for by-elections to replace our party members who were elected by the citizens, even under a rigged and fraudulent electoral environment,” read the statement.
“This proclamation is in response to an illegal recall initiated by a Zanu PF imposter, named Sengezo Tshabangu, who falsely claims to be the interim secretary general of our party, led by President Nelson Chamisa. The illegal proclamation is a clear indication of Mr Mnangagwa’s involvement in the illegal recalls of our elected members. Mnangagwa’s intention is to decimate the authentic opposition in Zimbabwe, following his defeat by President Nelson Chamisa in the recently concluded rigged and fraudulent elections.”
The CCC said the endorsement of the recalls has plunged the country into a constitutional and political crisis.
“This precedent was set by the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, who reduced his administrative duties to a mere conveyer belt, in contrast to the requirement of the Administrative Justice Act read together with Section 129 (k) of the constitution of Zimbabwe,” read the statement.
“Zimbabwe is now facing an unprecedented constitutional and political crisis. This has proved the most glaring manifestation of state institutions capture by Mr Mnangagwa. As a matter of fact, the CCC, led by President Chamisa, has not recalled any party member.
“Additionally, the CCC does not have an interim secretary-general position. Furthermore, Sengezo Tshabangu, the imposter, is not a registered CCC member as he is absent from our official registers. Lastly, we have reported this imposter to Milton Park Police Station with reference number SSS1290. Therefore, we reiterate that the recalls are illegal, and a by-election date cannot be determined for a matter that is currently before the courts.”
Added the CCC: “The party will explore all available solutions to protect the nation from the unnecessary anguish of going through another election immediately after a contentious one. We will continue to provide updates to the nation regarding the measures that the movement is undertaking to safeguard it from further contention.”
There are strong indications that Mnangagwa, who won the disputed August 23 election, is pushing for a two-thirds majority in Parliament which would see him amend laws to bolster his stay in power through an extension of his term.