BULAWAYO – Nearly two dozen former CCC MPs and councillors who were controversially recalled could now be barred from the February 3 by-elections after self-styled party secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu filed a court application arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s decision to accept their nomination papers was unlawful.
In the urgent application filed at the Harare High Court on January 12, Tshabangu says the 23 former MPs and councillors including CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba (Pelandaba Tshabalala) and Amos Chibaya (Mkoba North) ceased to be members of the CCC, which was the basis of their recalls, and consequently cannot return to the ballot for the same party.
The CCC led by Nelson Chamisa says Tshabangu is an impostor who has succeeded in his actions only because of “captured courts”.
Through his lawyer Nqobani Sithole, Tshabangu argues in the court filing: “The application is made on the grounds that on December 18, 2023, the Nomination Court sat consequent upon promulgation of the date for by-elections set down on February 3, 2024.
“First to twenty-third respondents submitted their nomination papers before the Nomination Court to be accepted as candidates in the by-election as ‘members’ of a political party called Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC party).
“This was despite the fact that in a prior and extant judgment, they had been found by this court to have ceased to be members of that party. The Nomination Court accepted the nomination papers. The decision of the Nomination Court is unlawful in that it is contrary to an extant judgment of the High Court and was at any rate procured through an apparent act of defiance of that judgment.
“Applicant consequently asks whether the court may be pleased to declare that the decision of the Nomination Court to accept the candidatures of first to twenty-third respondents is unlawful and set it aside.
“Given that the by-election is set to be held on February 3, 2024, and administrative processes and requirements to enable the conduct of the election in terms of the law will commence anytime from now, applicants ask whether his cause may be heard and determined on an urgent basis.”
Some recalled CCC MPs and councillors elected to file papers as independents at the nomination court, and have not been cited in Tshabangu’s court action.
Chamisa and the CCC have a pending court application in which they ask the High Court to rule that Tshabangu is an impostor with no authority to recall any of its elected officials. The matter is pending.
Should Chamisa lose the court application, the party will effectively be controlled by Tshabangu, including cash due to it from the government under the Political Parties (Finance) Act. – ZimLive