CCC’s interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu yesterday dealt the party’s beleaguered leader Nelson Chamisa yet another blow after High Court Judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda ruled in favour of his application that the names of 23 party candidates be removed from the ballot papers to be used in the February 3 by-elections.
Those barred from contesting in the polls to be held in a fortnight under the CCC banner include deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba who was legislator for Pelandaba-Tshabalala, former leader of the opposition in Parliament Amos Chibaya who was Mkoba North Member of Parliament and Stephen Chagwiza who was representing Goromonzi South.
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Former Harare Mayor Ian Makone who was Councillor for Ward 18 is also among the 20 councillors to be expunged from the ballot papers.
The 23 had defiantly filed their nomination papers under the CCC which had recalled them in the first place, defying an earlier order by the High Court that prohibited recalled MPs from running for office in by-elections under the opposition party’s banner.
Tshabangu’s High Court victory consequently casts Chamisa and his faction in dire straits as he has now evidently lost control of the party he formed two years ago.
Justice Kwenda issued the order on the premise that the 23 candidates had ceased to be eligible to represent the opposition party when they were recalled by the party’s secretary-general.
“Indeed the respondents were recalled by the first applicant, indeed vacancies were created, by-elections were called for and will be held.
“Having observed the above I find that the applicants have proved or made a good case to declare a correct position which is that the respondents having ceased to be members of CCC and not having being reinstated will not contest in the by-elections under CCC.
“Therefore, consequently it is ordered that the names of the first to the 23 respondents shall not be on ballot papers as members of CCC,” he ruled.
Justice Kwenda urged the CCC to put their house in order while also reprimanding them for wanting to “transmit factionalism” into the High Court.
The CCC’s internal disputes, he said, had nothing to do with the High Court.
“On documents before me I see factions. Certain people are not happy about the recall. I think this issue should resolved internally.
“There are issues the party should resolve and that should not concern me. Those differences must be resolved.
“It is regrettable that in advancing arguments the respondents lawyers sought to transmit that factionalism in the High Court to say I should depart from the judgement my colleague Justice Katiyo made,” he said.
Justice Kwenda said he had been guided by precedent that had been set during the High Court’s previous pronouncements.
“The court abides by its previous decisions. The law requires the High Court to follow its previous pronouncement. This court is however, not prohibited to depart from its previous pronouncement.
“In this matter I did not receive arguments to the effect that this case is not different from the previous ones.
“Ordinarily I would be expected to follow the ruling made in the previous judgements,” he said.
Tshabangu’s lawyer Mr Nqobani Sithole said they were delighted with the ruling.
“We are excited that our clients’ rights have been vindicated, we always knew that there is only one CCC of course there could be factions within the CCC as the judge noted.
“It was always as clear as the sun rising from the East,” he said.
Chamisa’s faction, said Mr Sithole, seemed not to be learning from previous judgements.
He went on to vehemently warn the 23 against misrepresenting themselves as CCC candidates, while noting that Justice Kwenda urged the party to put their house in order.
“One of the things that the Judge said which we have always been saying is that there is need for dialogue and engagement within the party.
“Those that do not belong to the party should not purport to represent the party in this coming by-election,” he said.
In an interview after the ruling, CCC lawyer Obey Shava said the ruling had been made hence he would go on to consult his clients.
“The court made a finding that the Members of Parliament and Councillors recalled by CCC remain recalled and the court also made a finding that they cannot be on the ballot under the banner of CCC because according to the Court’s reason they were recalled by the same party that they filed the nomination papers under,” he said.
Source – The Chronicle