Amidst the upcoming parliamentary by-elections in December, a man claiming to be the interim secretary general of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has asserted his authority over the screening and endorsement of prospective candidates.
Sengezo Tshabangu, who recently recalled 15 CCC legislators, stated that he possesses a list of candidates for the by-elections following the announcement of election dates by the president.
Tshabangu, in an interview with VOA Zimbabwe Service, explained that the right to recall empowers the party to endorse and sign for the candidates. He emphasized that the party would employ the same selection criteria used previously, relying on their existing database to identify strong candidates at the ward and constituency levels.
According to Tshabangu, these candidates were chosen through a selection process led by the people.
Responding to accusations of being a puppet of the ruling party, Tshabangu dismissed such claims, drawing from his past experiences as evidence that opposition figures who challenge certain views are often labelled as Zanu PF functionaries.
To ensure the integrity of the candidate selection process for the by-elections, Tshabangu issued a warning to CCC party activists, indicating that severe measures would be taken against anyone attempting to undermine the process. The party conducted grassroots candidate selections prior to the general elections in August 2023.
When approached for comment, CCC spokesperson Promise Mkhwanazi declined, citing the need for the party to deliberate on the matter in the near future.
Disputing Tshabangu’s credibility, expelled CCC parliamentarian Prince Dubeko Sibanda labelled him an imposter. Sibanda revealed that he is currently challenging his own recall in the High Court. According to Sibanda, Tshabangu lacks evidence to prove his position as interim secretary general, further questioning his legitimacy.
The unfolding situation within the CCC highlights the discord and legal battles taking place within the party, as different factions vie for control and authority ahead of the upcoming by-elections.