Crisis as CCC quits Parly ...pulls out of councils

Addressing journalists in Harare, Chamisa gave the Zanu PF-led government a 14-day ultimatum to address the “illegal” recalls or the opposition party will totally pull out of Parliament and local government.

OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader, Nelson Chamisa, yesterday announced a temporary withdrawal of his party from all council and parliamentary business in protest over the recall of his 15 MPs and 17 councillors from Matabeleland region.

Addressing journalists in Harare, Chamisa gave the Zanu PF-led government a 14-day ultimatum to address the “illegal” recalls or the opposition party will totally pull out of Parliament and local government.

A Bulawayo-based CCC supporter Sengezo Tshabangu who claims to be the party’s interim secretary-general, recalled Chamisa’s 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) and 17 councillors saying they had ceased to be party members.

Chamisa revealed that the party has also written to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)  as well as Zanu PF for an urgent need to address  the electoral dispute.

“We are asking Parliament to restore those MPs (who) have been illegally recalled,” Chamisa said.

“They are trying to bring Zanu PF through the backdoor.

“We are also ordering all our deployees in Parliament and local authorities to disengage from Parliament and from council until this issue is resolved.

“And when we say disengage, we have not said they have withdrawn, but they have disengaged meaning to say no business shall be transacted until remedy and justice is done.”

Yesterday, all CCC MPs did not attend the National Assembly sittings in solidarity with their recalled colleagues.

A day earlier, the CCC legislators were ejected from Parliament after protesting against the decision by Speaker of the National Assembly to uphold Tshabangu’s recall bid.

Mudenda also issued a ruling banning the CCC MPs for the next six sittings and docking their allowances for snubbing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s  state of the nation address during the official opening of the 10th Parliament two weeks ago.

Chamisa and the CCC have dismissed Tshabangu as an impostor and a Zanu PF proxy.

The recalled MPs have approached the High Court for recourse.

“This injustice is plunging the country into a deeper crisis because we already have a constitutional crisis,” Chamisa said.

He said the party was concerned about the “systematic” purging of MPs from Matabeleland where the majority of the recalled legislators come from.

"Recently before the election it was the Bulawayo 12, they wanted to use the courts to disqualify them, but they failed and they were all voted for but some impostor came and said these were recalled,” he said.

“We are expressing dissatisfaction as a dialogue mechanism. We have disengaged, but withdrawal is also on the cards. There has to be a political dialogue to be able to deal with the legitimacy cries.”

“We have also reached out to Zanu PF and their various organs to say, we have to resolve the issue of disputed elections.”

Zanu PF acting director for Information Farai Marapira said: "As Zanu PF we have not received any correspondence regarding dialogue but as the President has said, we are open for dialogue with both local and foreign partners. However, this must be genuine and sincere.

“The CCC is an autonomous political party which has a right to engage in any way it sees fit. To us as Zanu PF, their activities are neither here nor there for as long as they are within the full ambit of the law.  Our fixation is on supporting the President’s vision for a better Zimbabwe for all regardless of political affiliation.”

Yesterday, a group of researchers under the banner,  Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) urged the CCC to exert pressure on Zanu PF and refuse to be intimidated through legal or extra-legal means.

In their report titled: The Politics of Recalls — Democratic Fragility and Opposition Vulnerability in Zimbabwe,  the researchers urged CCC members to avoid being bribed by Zanu PF and the State.

“Opposition should not accept any offers or inducements from the regime to join its ranks or to abandon its principles. This entails refusing to participate in any sham elections or dialogues that are designed to legitimise the regime or to co-opt its leaders; refusing to recognise or endorse any decisions or actions taken by the regime that violate the constitution or the rule of law,” the report read.

The ZDI, however, said the opposition must also resolve its internal problems that “have enabled Zanu PF’s machinations to undermine its credibility and cohesion”.

“The opposition must also enhance its communication and coordination with its grassroots supporters and allies to prevent confusion and demoralisation,” ZDI said.

Zanu PF has distanced itself from the recalls.

ZDI added: “The opposition should maintain its vigilance and resilience against Zanu PF’s attempts to intimidate and manipulate it through legal or extra-legal means. The opposition must also seek regional and international solidarity and support for its cause.”

The ZDI report also claims that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is eyeing a third-term in office by using the recalls to effect a two-thirds majority in Parliament to enable him to change the Constitution.

Exiled former Zanu PF politburo member and Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo described the CCC’s disengagement as a strategic blunder. “It is a knee jerk publicity-stunt which is neither strategic nor a strategy to disengage when the horses have bolted less than 24 hours after the recall of some of your MPs and the banning from Parliament of the rest of your MPs for two weeks, and the docking of their monthly salary over two months for having been found to have conducted themselves on the floor of Parliament in a disorderly and unruly manner unbefitting of Honourable Members of Parliament,” he said.

“It is an utter and disgraceful dereliction of duty and not a strategy by any stretch of the imagination to disengage and do no work in and for 33 out of 34 urban municipalities that you control and run with your mayors or board chairpersons, their deputies and their councils. This is like disengaging from your own household or family; it is just crazy.

“There are lots of strategies and options out there, with meaningful pro-people endgames, but disengaging from Parliament, and from the urban councils that you control and run is not among those strategies or options; rather such disengagement is hopelessly unimaginative and is tantamount to short-changing and defrauding the electorate.

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