CCC boycott of opening of Parliament risks boomeranging as only a news headline stunt with no reform headway

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While CCC is well within its rights to boycott today’s opening of the First Session of the 1Oth Parliament by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the boycott could in fact boomerang on CCC; and ultimately leave the party’s role in Parliament eviscerated, as happened to the MDC-A in the last Parliament.

By Prof. Jonathan Moyo

This is because CCC has no strategy behind its opportunistic boycott to make reform headway, beyond chasing news headlines of the day, which are certain to be overtaken by other headline events of subsequent days.

The boycott of presidential addresses to Parliament is a common opposition tactic around the world, even within the Sadc region. On their own, they’re not anything to write home about.

In South Africa, for example, the EFF SouthAfrica has perfected the tactic as part of the go-to campaigns in its strategy box.

What is notable about the boycott of Parliament tactic by opposition political parties, is that a boycott works only where the tactic is part of a well thought out and well grounded strategy with an endgame.

The EFF has upped the ante in its boycott of Cyril Ramaphosa parliamentary appearances in order to send a clear message to the electorate that the EFF is the only real opposition to ANC in Parliament, ahead of South Africa’s 2024 general election.

As for CCC, its boycott of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s opening of the First Session of the 10th Parliament today is problematic in three notable respects.

Firstly, and as is exemplified by the last paragraph of @zimlive’s story linked to the attached post, CCC’s boycott is premised on the falsification of the conclusions of the SADC and African Union election observations on Zimbabwe’s recent harmonised general election.

Witness Promise Mkwananzi’s frenzy posting on this platform today of excerpts of the SADC Election Observation [SEOM], to justify CCC’s boycott of the opening of the First Session of the 10th Parliament today:

Given that Mkwananzi is the CCC official spokesperson, it should be an embarrassment to SADC that CCC is entirely and exclusively relying on SEOM’s preliminary report; because CCC itself has no evidence of its own, none whatsoever, regarding its claim that Nelson Chamisa won the 2023 presidential election.

In this connection, and as an example of what the media on CCC’s bandwagon has been doing, Zimlive falsifies the conclusions of the SADC and AU election observation missions by claiming that:

“The Southern African Development Community, African Union and European Union said the polls fell short of regional and international standards.”

But this is false.

Tellingly, the falsehood is in fact the overriding and indeed the only premise of the CCC boycott of the opening of Parliament, as evidenced by @pmkwananzi’s posting on this platform of the SEOM report .

Yet, nowhere in their published reports did Sadc or AU election observation missions conclude that, “the polls fell short of regional and international standards”.

International standards, what international standards?

The addition of “…and international standards” – which must be music to the imperial ears of the EU – is entirely an unfortunate invention of Zimlive. The gratuitous invention is unfortunate because it a falsehood.

It is also unfortunate that, again like the rest of the media that’s on CCC’s bandwagon, Zimlive fails to report that the SADC Election Observation Mission [SEOM] actually said only “some aspects” – not all aspects but “some aspects” of the elections “fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Electoral Act and the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections(2021)”.

One does no have to be a specialist to realise that the CCC boycott of Parliament hopes to give life to falsified media reports – such as the one by @zimlive cited above – mainly of the SEOM conclusion.

A boycott of Parliament based on a media falsehood about the conclusion of SEOM is certain to end in grief, not least because the media falsehood is not sustainable; on factual and professional grounds.

Secondly, and as already intimated above, it is notable that CCC itself does not have any evidence to support Nelson Chamisa’s assertion that he won the presidential election. This is why CCC is having to rely on media falsehoods about SEOM’s conclusion, to support its claim.

As such, it is foolhardy for CCC or anyone else for that matter; to expect a CCC boycott based on zero evidence – with no V11s – to have an endgame like a fresh election or a so-called National Transitional Authority [NTA].

One cannot have something, from nothing.

Thirdly, and this is the most significant hurdle for CCC, an effective boycott of anything in Parliament by an opposition political party can be meaningful or impactful if and only if that party has numbers of seats in the legislature that are sufficient or enough to stop or block parliamentary processes or votes.

For example, after the 208 harmonised general election, the two MDC formations led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube had 100 and 10 constituency seats respectively; to give them a majority control of Parliament with a combined 110 seats out 210. With such numbers, their boycott of any parliamentary process would have carried real and substantive weight, including making it impossible for Parliament to approve and pass the government budget; and rendering Parliament altogether dysfunctional.

But the CCC numbers in the current Parliament can only stop or block votes that require a two thirds majority, and nothing else.

Therefore, the CCC numbers in Parliament are insignificant for any meaningful boycott tactic to be part of any meaningful endgame or strategic purpose beyond the news headline of the day.

Zanu-PF has a solid and commanding majority in Parliament such that it is Parliament itself; in that it can conduct the legislative business of Parliament alone, without let or hindrance.

For all it wants, CCC MPs can boycott Parliament indefinitely, and what would happen after 21 consecutive sittings is that their seats would become vacant, leading to the holding of by-elections. And that would be the end of the story.

Last but not least, because it takes two to tango; the boycott of Parliamentary sittings – like the one today – by CCC MPs could ultimately boomerang by attracting a response that leaves CCC – a movement with no constitution – further exposed or even eviscerated, as happened to the MDC-A!

Source – x