THE mastermind behind the recalling of the 15 Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) National Assembly representatives, Mr Sengezo Tshabangu says he can’t rule out more recalls as he targets getting rid of what he says are ‘people who are abusing their proximity to the party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa.’
Mr Tshabangu, who says he is the party’s acting secretary general, speaking through his spokesperson Mr Khaliphani Phugeni said the whole recall process was meant to cleanse the opposition party of individuals who are going against the ethos and values of the party. He said the process is never targeted at eventually removing Mr Chamisa from the leadership position, a gospel being pushed by those opposed to the recalls.
On Monday, Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda wrote to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s chief elections officer, advising that in terms of Section 39 (1) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) vacancies had arisen in parliament after 15 opposition members ceased to be CCC party members on October 4.
This followed a letter to Adv Mudenda by Mr Tshabangu advising that the 15 national assembly members and 17 councillors had ceased to be party members. The 15 recalled national assembly representatives are, Mr Ereck Gono (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Mr Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Mr Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North), Mr Bright Vanya (Lupane), Mr Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Mr Obert Manduna (Nketa), Mr Morgan Ncube (Beitbridge West), Mr Pashor Raphael Sibanda (Cowdray Park), Mr Febian Kufahakutizwi (Mabvuku-Tafara)
Mr Evidence Zana (Youth Representation), Ms Janeth Dube, Ms Sitabile Mlilo, Ms Nomathemba Sibanda, Ms Jasmine Toffa and Ms Velisizwe Nkomo (all Proportional Representation).
Mr Phugeni said they were seized with presentations from different parts of the country where people are expressing their unhappiness over self-imposed candidates.
“We are getting a lot of presentations from different parts of the entire country, people are not happy about persons who either imposed themselves by name dropping or abuse. Others went as far as faking conversations where they created false impressions that they are in charge just by some social media conversations with president Chamisa and that he has ordered that so and so must go and contest here and there, so those are all the issues that we are attending to. If there is a veracity to any of those claims, then yes indeed you can expect more action,” said Mr Phugeni.
Asked in what capacity was Mr Tshabangu making the recalls since the party had no structures, Mr Phugeni said the actions were being taken by an interim secretary general, in the same manner that Mr Chamisa in his capacity as the party interim president, has been.
He said there is no dispute that there are no structures as yet in the CCC.
“As has been made clear that the office is that of the interim secretary general, there is no dispute that there are no structures as yet but just as much as we do have the office of the interim leader right now in the form of our president, the change champion in chief, there is the office of the interim secretary general to do the day to day communications and administration of the party and it is in that capacity that we have acted, having travelled throughout the country where we met party cadres and this is their decision by the way that the party can not afford to veer off the correct path. If we are going to democratise Zimbabwe, we must start within ourselves and we frown upon imposition issues. Undermining local people who must have a right to choose their representatives must not be allowed, no amount of manipulation will be tolerated,” said Mr Phugeni.
Mr Phugeni rubbished insinuations that the real target in all this was Mr Chamisa, with the plan being to recall him and then call for an elective congress before the end of the year.
“This(recall of Mr Chamisa) is all meant to create a wedge between the president and the acting secretary general. There is no intention whatsoever, the president is not the target of this action. We even believe that he is the right person to lead us, in line with our founding values, principles, character and nature. Of course, those who want to survive by name-dropping, abusing access and proximity to him would want to characterize this citizens’ backed action as a target on his back, not at all, the president is very safe. This move, if anything, strengthens the party, its office bearers and in the long run as people will see it will put the president in good light and standing before the community and in line with the objectives of the citizens’ movement,” said Mr Phugeni.
Meanwhile, CCC leader Chamisa, yesterday announced a temporary withdrawal of his party from all council and parliamentary business in protest over the recall of his 15 MPs and 17 councillors from Matabeleland region.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Chamisa gave the Zanu PF-led government a 14-day ultimatum to address the “illegal” recalls or the opposition party will totally pull out of Parliament and local government.
Chamisa revealed that the party has also written to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) as well as Zanu PF for an urgent need to address the electoral dispute.
“We are asking Parliament to restore those MPs (who) have been illegally recalled,” Chamisa said.
“They are trying to bring Zanu PF through the backdoor.
“We are also ordering all our deployees in Parliament and local authorities to disengage from Parliament and from council until this issue is resolved.
“And when we say disengage, we have not said they have withdrawn, but they have disengaged meaning to say no business shall be transacted until remedy and justice is done.”
Yesterday, all CCC MPs did not attend the National Assembly sittings in solidarity with their recalled colleagues.
A day earlier, the CCC legislators were ejected from Parliament after protesting against the decision by Speaker of the National Assembly to uphold Tshabangu’s recall bid.
Mudenda also issued a ruling banning the CCC MPs for the next six sittings and docking their allowances for snubbing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s state of the nation address during the official opening of the 10th Parliament two weeks ago.
Chamisa and the CCC have dismissed Tshabangu as an impostor and a Zanu PF proxy.
The recalled MPs have approached the High Court for recourse.
“This injustice is plunging the country into a deeper crisis because we already have a constitutional crisis,” Chamisa said.
He said the party was concerned about the “systematic” purging of MPs from Matabeleland where the majority of the recalled legislators come from.
“Recently before the election it was the Bulawayo 12, they wanted to use the courts to disqualify them, but they failed and they were all voted for but some impostor came and said these were recalled,” he said.
“We are expressing dissatisfaction as a dialogue mechanism. We have disengaged, but withdrawal is also on the cards. There has to be a political dialogue to be able to deal with the legitimacy cries.”
“We have also reached out to Zanu PF and their various organs to say, we have to resolve the issue of disputed elections.”