THE “mastermind” behind the recall of the 15 Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) National Assembly representatives, Mr Sengezo Tshabangu, has struck again, this time recalling 52 more councillors from 15 local authorities, including Binga Rural District Council and Victoria Falls City Council.
The largest number of recalled councillors are from the capital, Harare, which has nine including the city mayor Cllr Ian Makone, and his deputy Cllr Kudzai Mazhombe.
Of the recalled councillors, 15 were elected under proportional representation while four were chosen under women’s quota.
This brings to 69 the number of recalled councillors, having initially recalled 17.
The interim opposition party’s secretary general instigated the recall of the 15 legislators and 17 councillors who were duly elected during the August 23 harmonised elections saying these had ceased to be party members.
His basis of the argument is that the recalled MPs and councillors were imposed on the people in the run-up to the August 23 harmonised elections, and it is time to return the opposition outfit to constitutionalism.
While the recalled MPs took Mr Tshabangu to court challenging their recall, the High Court dismissed their case last weekend.
Following the recalls, President Mnangagwa proclaimed November 7 as the Nomination Court date and December 9 as the date for the by-election.
Mr Tshabangu confirmed the recalls last night.
“Yes it’s true that we have recalled some people, they cease to be members of our party as we indicated in their recall letter to the Minister,” said Mr Tshabangu.
Part of the letter addressed to Local Government, Public Works Minister Winston Chitando dated November 7 reads:
“Kindly proceed in terms of the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and local government laws relating to members who have ceased to be members of a political party which they were elected under.”
Responding to the latest wave of recalls, CCC spokesperson Mr Gift Siziba said:
“In light of these developments, CCC finds it necessary to assert the facts unequivocally. In a firm and resolute move, the CCC took legal action against Tshabangu in October 2023, effectively restraining him from falsely representing CCC,” he said.
“The legal dispute is ongoing and Tshabangu filed an appearance to defend on 8 November, indicating his intention to contest the lawsuit. However, he has not presented his formal defence.”
On Wednesday different political parties fielded candidates to replace those who were recalled, marking the start of campaigns to woo the voters. CCC had two camps fielding candidates for all the vacant seats, a development that party insiders say is a typical case of shooting oneself in the foot. Mr Tshabangu has vowed to nullify the nomination of recalled candidates through a court challenge.
Representatives of both camps confirmed that the opposition party is headed for a split if it has not already split.
In Bulawayo, former Nkulumane legislator Advocate Kucaca Phulu led Mr Tshabangu’s backed candidates and these are Mr Vusumuzi Chirwa (Cowdray Park), Mr Ambrose Sibindi (Nketa), James Sithole (Bulawayo South), Ms Tendai Nyathi (Lobengula Magwegwe) and Mr Charles Moyo (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi).
On the other hand, Ms Sithabile Mlilo led the faction of the recalled MPs who also successfully filed their papers.
These are Mr Pashor Sibanda (Cowdray Park), Ms Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Mr Ereck Gono (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Obert Manguna (Nketa) and Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi).
In an interview, Adv Phulu who described himself as a ‘carrier-boy’ for Wednesday’s proceedings, said it has become obvious that the Nelson Chamisa-led opposition party has fractured.
“What I can tell you is that what is apparent today is that you have double candidates that have filed under the CCC party and that indicates that there are fissures within that party,” he said.-Chronicle