Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the CCC secretary-general, has taken the controversial step of removing 15 MPs from both the party and parliament, and has also written to the local government minister, Winston Chitando, to recall 17 CCC councillors for the same reason.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa recently wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, urging him to disregard attempts by an individual claiming to represent the party to recall over a dozen lawmakers. Speaker Mudenda has since ruled on the matter, declaring the 15 seats vacant and open for by-elections.
In a letter dated October 4, 2023, Chamisa referenced an earlier communication from September 11 listing the party’s 103 MPs and 27 senators, stating that any communication regarding CCC members in parliament should come from his office.
Chamisa reiterated that Tshabangu is not a member of the party and that the CCC has neither a secretary-general nor an acting secretary-general. A police report has also been filed against Tshabangu.
“As at present, none of the Members of Parliament who were elected under the CCC have been expelled from the party I lead or recalled from the National Assembly, or for that matter, from any elected position in the Senate or any local council,” Chamisa stated.
Tshabangu has been identified as the individual who signed nomination papers for nearly two dozen people running as CCC candidates in the August 23 elections. This caused controversy when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission accepted their nominations.
Tshabangu appears to be taking advantage of a perceived gap in the legal status of the CCC, which lacks a leadership structure outside of Chamisa and his appointed spokespersons. The party, formed in March 2022, has not yet set a date for an elective congress.
The ruling Zanu PF party is closely monitoring this situation, and some speculate that it may be encouraging an internal rift in the CCC in the hopes of triggering by-elections that could give them a two-thirds majority in parliament. Mudenda and Chitando are Zanu PF members, raising concerns that they could rule in favor of Tshabangu, potentially leading to a major political controversy.
Chamisa’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, insists that Mudenda and Chitando must reject the Tshabangu petitions outright. Mpofu stated, “They cannot act on criminal letters.”