Political turmoil in Zimbabwe: CCC MPs under pressure to withdraw from Parliament

Self-imposed CCC Secretary-General Sengezo Tshabangu

Pressure Mounts on CCC MPs as Controversial By-Elections Spark Uncertainty

Members of Parliament belonging to the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) find themselves at a critical juncture as calls intensify for them to withdraw from the National Assembly in the wake of contentious by-elections held over the weekend.

The remaining CCC MPs are caught in a political quagmire, with uncertainty looming large as the self-proclaimed secretary general of the party, Sengezo Tshabangu, initiates a recall of legislators.

Despite the temporary reprieve granted by the High Court, which issued an interdict preventing Tshabangu from recalling elected officials, the CCC is facing mounting pressure from observers and critics to withdraw its MPs.

Last week, opposition candidates were expelled from the race in the recently concluded by-elections after the court ruled that they could not run under the CCC banner due to their prior recall by Tshabangu.

Eldred Masungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, urged against hasty reactions, emphasizing the need to institutionalize the CCC. Masungure questioned the benefits of an impulsive response, asking, “What benefits will this gurwe reaction bring to the CCC, its voters and Zimbabwe generally?”

He also noted that ZANU-PF, with its lack of shame, is unlikely to be perturbed by such withdrawals, and even the Southern African Development Community (SADC) may not be spurred to action, particularly given ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalule’s deference to ZANU-PF. Masungure proposed that the CCC return to basics, abandoning the ambiguous organizational model and formalize itself as a political entity, as there is no alternative solution.

In October, the CCC instructed its MPs to disengage from the National Assembly as a protest against the recall of its members, which they deemed illegitimate. However, this protest failed to deter Tshabangu from subsequently recalling another group of MPs, leading to the court’s intervention.

The CCC MPs are currently awaiting further directives from the party regarding their course of action.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya stressed that for a withdrawal to be effective, it would require the consensus of the Zimbabwean people. Ngwenya observed that ZANU-PF would likely continue to push Tshabangu for more recalls, given their relentless pursuit of power. He also pointed out that a withdrawal lacking nationwide citizen solidarity would achieve little, as the opposition is not limited to the CCC but encompasses the larger population aggrieved by the erosion of constitutional democracy. In Ngwenya’s view, whether or not a pullout occurs will be inconsequential if two million voters remain silent.

As the CCC MPs grapple with the mounting pressure, the political landscape in Zimbabwe remains uncertain. The decisions made by the CCC will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the party, its supporters, and the overall political climate in the country.

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