Zimbabwe Prepares for By-Elections in 14 Constituencies Amid Opposition Recalls

Zimbabwe is gearing up for by-elections set to take place on December 9th in 14 constituencies following a series of controversial opposition recalls. The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) alleges that these recalls are part of a larger strategy by the ruling Zanu-PF party to undermine their political influence.

The turmoil began when Sengezo Tshabangu, a self-proclaimed secretary-general of CCC, sent a letter to the Parliament clerk, claiming to have recalled 14 legislators from Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, and Bulawayo. This unexpected move created vacancies in these constituencies.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a government gazette, officially declared December 9th as the by-election date and scheduled the nomination court to sit on November 7th. However, the CCC disputes Tshabangu’s authority within the party and believes this to be a maneuver by Zanu-PF to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa accused Mnangagwa of attempting to destroy the legitimate opposition. Ostallos Siziba, the CCC’s deputy spokesperson, echoed these sentiments, stating that the president’s proclamation reveals his intention to weaken the opposition following the recent elections.

Tshabangu, on the other hand, welcomed Mnangagwa’s proclamation and claimed that the CCC already has candidates prepared to contest the by-elections, candidates who had previously passed the party’s primary selection process. The recalled legislators who wish to stand for re-election will likely need to find an alternative name for their party, as Tshabangu is recognized by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as the person in charge of CCC.

Furthermore, Tshabangu indicated that more recalls are on the horizon, setting the stage for further by-elections in the future.