HARARE – Legal heads collided Tuesday as parliament boldly executed a recall order on 18 CCC legislators in a space of an hour after a High Court judge ordered a halt in the opposition carnage pending a determination on whether self-styled opposition interim secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu wielded any authority to act on behalf of the main opposition.
The precipitous recalls this time targeted 13 lawmakers in the lower house and five senators.
Conspicuous on the casualty list was CCC organising secretary Amos Chibaya, a politician who has fronted the opposition’s tiring quest for change of government through the ballot.
In a farcical rendition of the country’s toxic politics, the High Court and Parliament – the two estates of the state – acted contrary to each other with Justice Tawanda Chitapi granting a prayer by CCC lawyers to interdict parliament and the local government minister from executing further recalls pending a determination on Tshabangu’s legal status.
The ruling, which went viral on social media, did not stop national assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda from effecting the recall order, plunging the country into a legal debate on the legality of his actions.
The High Court order was issued around lunchtime on Tuesday while a written order was reportedly delivered around 4PM after the proverbial horses had bolted out of the stable doors.
Mudenda is cited as a respondent in the relief sought by CCC to put brakes on the carnage.
Speaking to journalists soon after the court ruling, CCC lawyer Obey Shava said “court has suspended any further recalls pending the disposition and the hearing of that urgent chamber application”.
“No more further recalls pending determination of the urgent chamber application,” he said.
CCC accuses Mudenda of being in contempt of the High Court order for the Zanu PF top politician and lawyer to stop a series of actions he has diligently executed.
Party deputy spokesperson, Gift Ostallos Siziba, also a victim of the latest recalls, said “once the High Court order is delivered, the announcement of recalls by the Speaker of Parliament becomes null and void. The Speaker will have to proceed to reverse announcement.”
However, those of the contrary opinion argue that the speaker could only act on a written order by the courts as opposed to word of mouth.
Mudenda, who went into an impromptu chamber conference with CCC and Zanu PF representatives soon after making the announcement Tuesday, promised to act if he gets a written order from the opposition and its lawyers.
“I have not received from any representative of the Citizens Coalition for Change Political Party a copy of that Order.
“Once that Court Order is received and states what you are saying, in terms of the law, the Court Order will supersede the recall accordingly.
“So, as soon as I get that, I will act in terms of the Court Order,” he said.