CCC Interim Secretary-General Seeks Court Intervention to Bar Recalled Legislators from By-Elections
In a dramatic turn of events, Sengezo Tshabangu, the self-proclaimed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim secretary-general, has taken legal action to assert control over party operations.
Tshabangu yesterday filed an urgent application with the High Court, seeking to prevent recalled opposition legislators from participating in the upcoming by-elections on the CCC ticket.
Earlier this month, the Nelson Chamisa-led CCC registered all its recalled legislators and councillors as candidates for the by-elections. Simultaneously, Tshabangu’s candidates also successfully filed to contest on a CCC ticket. However, Tshabangu now claims that the recalled candidates used fraudulently signed documents to file their nomination papers.
According to Tshabangu’s lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, as the party’s interim secretary-general, Tshabangu holds the sole right to choose and endorse CCC candidates. The legality of the recalls is also being challenged by the CCC, with the High Court scheduled to hear the matter.
Addressing journalists after submitting the court documents, Advocate Uriri stated, “These members were recalled by the party. The members challenged their recall by the party, and the High Court upheld the recalls, meaning they ceased to be Members of Parliament because of the recall. The party that recalled them did not sign their nomination papers.”
Tshabangu, through his lawyer Nqobani Sithole, asserted that the recalled candidates cannot run in the upcoming by-elections on behalf of the CCC since they are no longer members of the opposition party.
In his latest court application, Tshabangu seeks an order from the High Court instructing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to remove all the recalled candidates nominated by Chamisa’s faction from the ballot paper for the December 9 by-elections.
“This is an elementary case here. You can’t have a situation where one is recalled and goes back to contest representing the same party that recalled him,” Sithole emphasized.
While Tshabangu claims that Chamisa is still the leader of the CCC, Chamisa has distanced himself from Tshabangu. The Chamisa-led CCC has further argued that the by-elections are illegitimate since the recalls were triggered by an alleged “impostor” and a proxy of the ruling Zanu PF party.
The candidates sponsored by Tshabangu include notable figures such as Tendai Chitura Nyathi (Lobengula-Magwegwe), James Sithole (Bulawayo South), Vusimuzi Chirwa (Cowdray Park), Charles Moyo (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi), Ambrose Sibindi (Nketa), Judith Sibanda (Binga North), Davis Nyathi (Lupane East), and Blessing Choeni (Beitbridge West).
However, there have been some peculiarities in Tshabangu’s candidate selection. He did not provide a candidate for Mabvuku-Tafara, and in Beitbridge West, his chosen candidate, Blessing Choeni, withdrew his candidacy, stating that he was not consulted prior to his name being submitted to the nomination court.
In Mabvuku-Tafara, the race will primarily be between Zanu PF’s Pedzisai “Scott” Sakupwanya and the CCC candidate Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi.
Within Bulawayo, the Chamisa-led CCC has put forward candidates such as Jane Nicola Watson for Bulawayo South, Pashor Raphael Sibanda for Cowdray Park, Erec Gono for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Desmond Makaza for Mpopoma-Mzilikazi, and Obert Manduna for Nketa constituency.
In Matabeleland North province, the Chamisa-led CCC will be represented by Prince Dubeko Sibanda in Binga North, Bright Vanya Moyo in Lupane East, and Morgan Ncube in Beitbridge West.
Observers, including Zanu PF, have pointed out that the chaos within Chamisa’s camp stems from his failure to hold an elective congress to select substantive office-bearers.
As the legal battle unfolds in the High Court, the outcome will determine the fate of the recalled legislators and shape the upcoming by-elections in Zimbabwe.