The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party has intensified its diplomatic efforts by engaging regional, continental, and international parliaments to intervene in the controversy surrounding the recall of its legislators.
This move is part of the party’s broader campaign to demand fresh elections following its dispute of the August 23-24 polls, which it claims were marred by extensive fraud.
After 15 Members of Parliament and 17 councillors were recalled earlier this month by someone claiming to be the party’s interim secretary-general, Sengezo Tshabangu, the CCC, led by Nelson Chamisa, notified various parliamentary bodies, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Sadc Parliamentary Forum, the Pan African Parliament, and the Africa Caribbean & Pacific-European Joint Parliamentary Assembly, about the continuous abuse of Parliament and Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
In response to the CCC’s complaint regarding the unconstitutional recalls, the IPU, a global organization comprising 180 national parliaments, discussed the matter during its 147th Assembly held in Luanda, Angola, from October 23 to 27. The IPU proposed sending a mission to Zimbabwe before January 2024.
During a hearing conducted by the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda stated that according to section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution, a member’s seat becomes vacant if they cease to belong to their political party and if the party declares in writing to the Speaker that the member has ceased to belong to it.
The committee’s document, which NewsDay obtained, states that according to the complainant, Tshabangu is an imposter without any position in the CCC and lacks the authority to request the recall of any CCC members. Furthermore, none of the individuals in Parliament mentioned that they had left the CCC.
During the hearing, the Speaker of the National Assembly mentioned that he received Tshabangu’s letter on October 3, 2023, before Chamisa’s letter dated September 11. Mudenda indicated that if the order had been reversed, his decision might have been different. He also noted that the CCC lacked clear and publicly known internal structures or the names of individuals holding key positions within the party.
Mudenda stated that if a request to recall Zanu PF members of the National Assembly was presented to him, it would be common knowledge who within the party is entitled to make such a request.
In its complaint to the IPU, the CCC accused Mudenda of acting unconstitutionally by disregarding the written and oral submissions of known party members, refusing to engage in discussions on the issue, and accepting Tshabangu’s letter without ensuring its legitimacy.
The IPU Governing Council concluded that the CCC’s case warranted sending a mission to Zimbabwe before the IPU Committee’s 173rd session in January 2024. While the council acknowledged Mudenda’s argument, it raised concerns about the swiftness with which the decision to revoke the mandate of the newly-elected parliamentarians was made and the lack of debate on the issue.
Tshabangu dismissed the CCC’s efforts as futile and claimed they were being led by “criminals” around Chamisa. He stated that credible leaders with political capital would be deployed on a diplomatic offensive ahead of the Sadc Summit to clarify the situation.
However, CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi explained that the diplomatic efforts were part of several strategies the party would employ to exert pressure on the Zanu PF regime for a new election. The goal is to bring pressure from multiple angles until the regime has no choice but to acknowledge its illegitimacy and engage in negotiations for a legitimate election to restore democracy.
The CCC remains determined to pursue its demands for electoral transparency and accountability, utilizing diplomatic channels to raise awareness and garner support for its cause.