THE opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) decision to proceed without a constitution and with no congress to elect substantive leaders is the reason why it has been trapped in a predicament in which a non-member of the party has recalled its MPs, councillors and senators.
A seasoned political analyst says CCC needs to go to congress, elect its substantive leaders to fill what used to be the National Executive in the old MDC and set up structures countrywide.
That way, no imposter will masquerade as one of its officials.
With a congress giving birth to leaders and adopting a constitution, the current crisis caused by Sengenzo Tshabangu will never happen.
Stephen Chan, professor of world politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, concurred with this line of thinking and told The NewsHawks that the opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa must convene a congress to fill posts of senior officials and put together a constitution so as to circumvent dirty tricks being employed against the opposition such as the recalling of MPs, councillors and senators by an imposter, Tshabangu.
Fifteen MPs, 17 councillors and eight senators from CCC were recently recalled by Tshabangu who identified himself as the interim secretary-general of the country’s biggest opposition party.
Chamisa has since disengaged the party MPs and councillors from conducting business in Parliament and local authorities in protest at the decision by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to accept Tshabangu’s letter recalling the MPs.
Chan said Chamisa must take decisive and bold steps to prevent such shenanigans from continuing to occur.
“Chamisa has fallen into a trap. There is little he can immediately do to overcome the trap. He has to make sure it doesn’t happen again… He should immediately call a party congress and there do two things: (a) constitutionalise the party and (b) under the constitution, elect a genuine secretary-general, so no one can just pretend to be one again,” Chan said.
Chan also averred that Chamisa should declare the CCC’s stance regarding the by-elections that must now occur after the recalls.
“It is important that those recalled MPs who had large majorities should be fielded as candidates again. They obviously had the confidence of their constituencies and this should be respected,” Chan said.
“He must get his remaining MPs back into Parliament as soon as possible and have them acting like a formal and well-organised opposition. A parliamentary opposition is no longer a people’s movement. They are there because of a people’s movement. Their job is to oppose in an organised, expert and effective fashion like any other opposition party in the world.”
Chan emphasised that it is important for Chamisa to shake off the one-man-band tag the CCC currently carries.
“Without these things, traps will be laid for him time and again. Something without established constitutional shape and processes is an open door for intrusion, pretence and sabotage. If he remains a one-man-band, his party will be unable to protect and shield him when the next dirty trick comes round,” he said.
Rashweat Mukundu, a political analyst, said Chamisa must continue with his disengagement stance from state institutions.
“CCC must certainly disengage from state institutions that are of no effect being abused, not only to target and destroy the opposition but are of no service to the public interest or to the good of the whole country. Continuing to want to be part of those institutions is a lack of strategic thinking on the part of CCC because you perpetuate the abuse,” said Mukundu.
“Disengaging necessitates thinking multiple strategies to push for democratisation in Zimbabwe which as is clearly coming out cannot be achieved by the opposition participating in any state institutions like Parliament. So this disengagement process, as it may, must then lead to a new thinking on how to achieve a just society to achieve a society that respects the will of the people.”
Political analyst Vivid Gwede again reiterated that Chamisa must stand his ground against the schemes of his political nemeses.
“The CCC should challenge these recalls by all constitutional means at their disposal. But I think the conversation should now be wider because it is not only CCC that is affected but the citizens and constituencies themselves. So the voice of everyone must be raised. These repeated recalls are weakening the institution of Parliament itself and the check and balances role it should play,” Gwede said.
In defending the current state of the CCC in which it has no structures, party insiders have said it is a strategy meant to guard against infiltration.
At the same time, they say the party is a citizens’ movement. This has certainly weakened the party as seen by its losses in Matabeleland South where the opposition used to command support during the era of the late icon, Morgan Tsvangirai under the MDC banner
The cabal of youthful politicians around Chamisa have proved that they do not instill the respect and valor that the seasoned politicians who founded the MDC party had.
There have been repeated calls for blending of the experienced and upcoming politicians in the opposition movement by way of giving them solid mandates at a congress where a constitution can also be adopted to guide the direction of the party and give it base ethos.
Some ruling party activists have already started mocking the citizens’ movement justifying that Tshabangu is right because, after all, he is also a citizen. – News Hawk