The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has announced the existence of a constitution aimed at safeguarding their elected officials from illegal recalls and attempts to seize control of the party. This development follows the recent recall of 15 CCC legislators and 17 councillors by self-imposed party secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu, which has prompted by-elections scheduled for December 9.
On Wednesday, Tshabangu further wrote to Local Government minister Winston Chitando informing him of his intention to recall 67 more CCC councillors including Harare mayor Ian Makone and deputy mayor Kudzai Kadzombe, on similar grounds. However, Local Government minister Winston Chitando has stated that he has not yet seen the letter from Tshabangu.
In an interview with NewsDay, CCC spokesperson Gift Siziba revealed that the party’s leader, Nelson Chamisa, had initiated measures to protect the party from being taken over by Tshabangu and his supporters. Siziba explained that the CCC possesses a constitution, contrary to claims made by detractors, and that they had submitted the constitution to various authorities, including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Justice Ministry, to verify the party’s authenticity and legal standing.
Siziba emphasized that the CCC had refrained from publicizing the constitution due to concerns about attempts to hijack the party. He also mentioned that the High Court would be involved in challenging Tshabangu’s fraudulent claim of being the CCC interim secretary-general, as the position does not exist in the party’s founding constitution.
The CCC accuses Tshabangu of being a ZANU-PF proxy, while Tshabangu’s spokesperson, Khaliphani Phugeni, called for dialogue as the way forward. Phugeni expressed confidence in regaining seats in by-elections stating that they made the recalls in CCC strongholds and emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue in the party. Similarly, former MDC-T MP and lawyer Kucaca Phulu, an ally of Tshabangu, stressed the need for dialogue to resolve the internal conflicts.
In a High Court application, filed by the CCC’s lawyer Obey Shava, the party sought to allow their recalled members to file their nomination papers for the upcoming by-elections. The CCC also requests that the court prevent Tshabangu from recalling additional members. ZANU-PF has distanced itself from the internal matters of the CCC.
The ongoing dispute between the CCC factions highlights the importance of effective management within an organization and the potential ramifications of internal divisions. The CCC aims to navigate these challenges through dialogue and legal actions, seeking to protect their elected officials and maintain the integrity of the opposition party.