Turmoil in Nelson Chamisa’s CCC as self-imposed party secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu runs to court

Self-imposed CCC Secretary-General Sengezo Tshabangu

Sengezo Tshabangu, the self-imposed Secretary-General of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), has once again approached the High Court in a bid to prevent the party’s candidates from participating in the upcoming by-elections. Tshabangu, who has been at the center of controversy since the disputed August 23 and 24 elections, is now seeking to block 23 CCC candidates from the polls scheduled for February 3, arguing that they are no longer members of the party.

In his urgent chamber application filed on Friday, Tshabangu claimed that he was the legitimate representative of the CCC, led by Nelson Chamisa. The application, invoking section 14 of the High Court Act, requested the court to make declarations and set aside the decisions of the nomination court, among other relief sought.

According to the court papers, the CCC is listed as the first applicant, with Tshabangu as the second applicant. The documents state: “The applicants seek these declarations pursuant to provisions of section 14 of the High Court Act,” reads the application in part.

“In consequence of these findings and declarations, I ask whether the court may be pleased to set aside the decisions of the nomination court and other consequential relief.

“First and 23rd respondents were elected to parliament or local authorities, as the case may be, in the general elections on 23 August 2023 as members of the political party called Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC party).

“After a few months they ceased to belong to that party.

“As the party’s interim secretary general, and pursuant to provisions of section 129 (1) (k) of the constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013, I wrote to the presiding officer of Parliament and the minister of Local Government communicating this fact,” Tshabangu stated.

Tshabangu also referred to a previous High Court ruling in the case brought by former legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda, which concluded that the recalled legislators cannot have their nomination papers and candidature accepted in the name of the CCC. He argued that the effect of the recalls and subsequent court findings was that the respondents had ceased to belong to the CCC, rendering them no longer members of parliament or councillors.

Expressing his concern, Tshabangu said, “What concerns me is that these respondents submitted nomination papers to the nomination court in which they held themselves out as ‘members’ of CCC party and asked to be accepted as candidates in the by election as such.

“This was despite their evident knowledge of this court’s finding that they ceased to be members of that party.

“I am aware that they have not been readmitted into the party. They, therefore, clearly meant to contempt the court.”

Tshabangu further criticized the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for allowing the 23 candidates to run under the CCC ticket. “As matters stand, all these respondents are due to take part in the by-elections on the basis of a ballot paper that will pass them off as ‘members’ of the CCC party,” he remarked.

In light of these concerns, Tshabangu is seeking an interdict to prevent Zec and the Ministry of Legal, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs from including the candidates on the ballot papers.

The case is likely to draw significant attention as it unfolds, as it touches on the validity of the CCC candidates’ participation in the upcoming by-elections. The court’s decision on Tshabangu’s petition will have far-reaching implications for both the CCC and the by-election process itself. As the legal battle continues, political observers and citizens alike will be closely watching to see how the court resolves this dispute.

Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.