There was chaos in Zimbabwe’s Parliament yesterday after anti-riot police were called to remove protesting opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators. The CCC members were upset over the recall of 15 of their colleagues from Parliament.
This all stems from a man named Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the interim secretary-general of the CCC party despite the party disputing this. Tshabangu had announced the recall of 15 CCC MPs and 17 local councillors, alleging they were no longer party members.
When Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda officially announced the recalls, chaos erupted. CCC MPs started loudly singing songs and chanting slogans against Mudenda, disrupting proceedings. CCC official Amos Chibaya argued Mudenda was overstepping by accepting recalls from Tshabangu instead of their actual party president, Nelson Chamisa.
Mudenda ordered the recalled MPs to leave, but they refused and continued protesting. This led to police being called in to forcibly remove the rowdy CCC legislators. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was unavailable for comment on the police action.
Mudenda also decided to ban all CCC MPs from Parliament for six sessions and withhold two months of their salaries for boycotting the President’s speech last week.
As turmoil ensued, CCC leader Nelson Chamisa was holding emergency meetings in Harare to strategize next steps. Party spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said they would make an announcement after internal discussions.
“But we will not allow Zanu PF to subvert the will of the people,” he asserted.
Chamisa and CCC reject Tshabangu as a ZANU-PF plant. However, ZANU-PF denies involvement in the recalls. Rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa also staged a solo protest decrying the “insult” to Bulawayo voters. Mudenda declined further comment to a reporter.