Tshabangu promises more recalls and more By- Elections
As Zimbabwe prepares for its second round of by-elections on February 3, 2024, political tensions are heating up. The landlocked Southern African nation, still reeling from the 2023 elections held in August, is bracing for another round of political battles that could have significant implications for the country’s future.
ZANU PF Eyes Supermajority, CCC Divided
The ruling ZANU PF party, led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is hoping to capitalize on the divided opposition to clinch a two-thirds majority in parliament. This would grant them significant control over legislative processes and further solidify their grip on power.
Meanwhile, the main opposition, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), remains fractured. A bitter internal dispute has seen the party split into two factions, each with its own agenda.
Chamisa vs. Tshabangu: A Battle for Control
One faction, led by CCC president Nelson Chamisa, is aiming to reclaim the seats lost in the previous recall exercise orchestrated by Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the party’s legitimate secretary-general. Tshabangu’s own faction of the CCC is fielding its own candidates, hoping to win under the revived CCC banner. Adding to the complexity of the situation, a High Court ruling in December 2023 disqualified all CCC candidates nominated by Chamisa, citing their expulsion from the party by Tshabangu. This left the field open for Tshabangu’s nominees and ZANU PF, who ultimately dominated the first round of by-elections, with ZANU PF winning the majority of seats and the CCC securing only two.
Tshabangu Promises More Recalls, Hits Campaign Trail
Undeterred by the legal setbacks, Tshabangu has launched his own campaign, visiting constituencies where he has recalled CCC members and nominated his preferred candidates. At a recent rally in Pelandaba-Tshabalala constituency, where he recalled former party spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba, Tshabangu confidently predicted a resounding victory for the CCC, claiming overwhelming grassroots support. He also hinted at further recalls, accusing some local officials in Bulawayo of corruption. Furthermore, he reiterated his call for a party congress to resolve the internal dispute.
Tshabangu plans to tour all six constituencies with vacant national assembly seats, campaigning for his chosen CCC candidates. He appears defiant in the face of opposition, declaring, “This year is the year that Masvingo, Harare, and Manicaland will all approve of Bulawayo. If they think removing me is removing the idea of fixing things, they are still playing. I will strike again.”
A Tight Race in Pelandaba-Tshabalala
In Pelandaba-Tshabalala, Tshabangu’s candidate, Moreblessing Tembo, faces a three-way battle against Siziba, who is running as an independent under the original CCC banner, and a ZANU PF candidate. This constituency promises to be one of the most closely watched races in the upcoming by-elections.[Sources: CITE]