High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has issued an interim interdict stopping self-imposed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu, from recalling the opposition party’s legislators and councillors until the matter has been finalised.
Shortly after the August 23 and 24 general elections, Tshabangu recalled 14 CCC MPs and 17 councillors accusing them of having ceased to be members of the opposition.
The CCC then challenged the move but could not stop proclamation of the date for the by-elections.
In his ruling yesterday, Justice Chitapi said: “Pending the determination of this urgent application the first respondent (Tshabangu) shall not purport to issue any letters of suspension of any members of the National Assembly, Senate or local authorities elected under the applicant (CCC)’s ticket.
“The second respondent (Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda), third respondent (Senate president Mabel Chinomona) and fourth respondent (Local Government minister Winston Chitando) as the case may be, shall not effect any recalls made pursuant to any request by the first respondent (Tshabangu) in terms hereof.”
The latest High Court interdict ironically coincided with Tshabangu’s second attempt to recall another 18 more legislators, among them five senators.
“You might be aware that CCC sued Tshabangu and filed summons on October 20, 2023 interdicting him from purporting to be representing the party in any forum. That action is still pending,” said CCC lawyer Obey Shava.
“In the interim, the High Court has suspended any further recalls pending the disposition and hearing of that urgent chamber application. No more further recalls pending the determination of the application.”
According to Shava, Mudenda indicated that he would only stop the latest recalls after being served with the interdict order.
“I was advised just now (about the recalls) and I am also told that the Speaker of Parliament promised to reverse once he sees the order which is still being typed,” he said.
Tshabangu’s spokesperson Khaliphani Phungeni said they were not aware of the High Court interdict.
“The interim secretary is alive to the fact that there is a matter before the High Court and he is not going to act in a manner thatis undermining what the court is working on,” Phugeni said.
On Monday, Pumula Member of Parliament (MP) Albert Mhlanga came out in the open to say he was Tshabangu’s deputy, but not consulted about the recalls.
“We will sit down and revisit the issue,” Mhlanga told NewsDay. However, Tshabangu denied having a deputy.
“I don’t have a deputy secretary-general. Where is that coming from? At this juncture, anyone can say anything.”
This comes amid reports that some CCC bigwigs are clandestinely working in cahoots with Tshabangu to push party leader Nelson Chamisa to call for an elective congress.