Political tensions escalate as recalled CCC MPs clash with ‘imposter’ Tshabangu in High Court drama

Self-imposed CCC Secretary-General Sengezo Tshabangu

High Court reserves judgment in case seeking to bar recalled CCC legislators from by-elections

The High Court, presided over by Judge Justice Never Katiyo, has reserved judgment in a case brought forward by Sengezo Tshabangu, the self-proclaimed interim secretary-general of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

Tshabangu is seeking to prevent recalled legislators from participating in the upcoming by-elections scheduled for Saturday.

Tshabangu invoked his self-imposed authority to recall 14 legislators and 17 councillors affiliated with the CCC, claiming that they were no longer members of the party. However, the recalled legislators successfully filed their nomination papers to contest the by-elections.

Tshabangu is seeking to bar these recalled legislators from participating in the polls as representatives of the CCC, which is led by Nelson Chamisa. However, Chamisa’s CCC has dismissed Tshabangu as an imposter aligned with Zanu PF.

During the court proceedings, Justice Katiyo questioned the basis for labelling Tshabangu as an imposter. Hatcliffe CCC legislator Agency Gumbo, who had been co-joined in the case, argued that Tshabangu became an imposter by recalling legislators belonging to another party. Gumbo pointed out that Tshabangu had his own party during the 2023 harmonized elections, where he sponsored candidates who ultimately lost to genuine CCC candidates supported by Chamisa.

Gumbo questioned Tshabangu’s decision to recall candidates from a different party after his own candidates were defeated.

Tshabangu’s lawyer, advocate Lewis Uriri, urged the court to grant his client’s application, contending that the recalled legislators had been expelled and should not be allowed to represent the CCC. Uriri emphasized that Tshabangu was the interim secretary-general of the only recognized CCC party.

On the other side, the lawyer representing the recalled legislators, Alec Muchadehama, argued that Tshabangu’s application was misplaced and should be dismissed since it was filed in the wrong court. Muchadehama asserted that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) would not have accepted nomination papers from recalled candidates if they were not genuine members of the CCC. He further urged Justice Katiyo to dismiss the application, highlighting that the ballots had already been printed.

Tawanda Kanengoni, the lawyer representing ZEC, assured the court that they would comply with the court’s decision in the matter.

The High Court’s ruling in this case will have significant implications for the upcoming by-elections. It remains to be seen whether the recalled legislators will be allowed to participate as candidates representing the CCC or if Tshabangu’s application will be successful in barring them from contesting. The judgment, eagerly awaited by all parties involved, will provide clarity on the matter and may shape the future political landscape in the country.

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