THE opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says it will continue to exert pressure on the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to address the ongoing election impasse in the country, after the bloc took note of its observer mission’s adverse report.
Sadc chair and President of Angola, João Lourenço this week congratulated the country for holding ‘peaceful’ polls despite the preliminary post-poll report by Sadc Observer Mission noting that they did not meet regional standards of a free and fair election.
The political situation in Zimbabwe has been further heightened by the recalls of 15 CCC Members of Parliament by Sengezo Tshabangu, who is claiming to be the party’s interim secretary-general.
Tshabangu is accused by CCC leadership of working with the ruling Zanu PF, and some disgruntled senior members of the opposition party.
High Court judge Justice Munacho Mutevedzi has since upheld the recall of CCC MPs.
CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi told the Independent that the party will continue to mobilise for “the restoration of legitimacy” in the country.
“We press on Sadc, which still has Zimbabwe on the agenda. We continue to mobilise for the restoration of legitimacy in Zimbabwe and for the return to constitutionality, rule of law, and order,” Mkwananzi said.
Legal expert Sharon Hofisi said the opposition needed to address the issue of Mnangagwa’s presidency using the current Sadc channels.
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“CCC needs to address the issue of Mnangagwa's inauguration and current presidency in simple terms to the general public,” Hofisi said.
“They (Zanu PF) might argue that the election was legitimate or that the irregularities were not significant enough to warrant a re-election (something they did not do, of course, during the hearing and might not have done). This could lead to political and legal disputes.
“The opposition CCC and its leader can refer to the Sadc Treaty and other relevant regional agreements and laws, which are hard laws that could bind the Zimbabwean government as contemplated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“In particular, the Protocol on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation within Article 6 of the Sadc treaty outlines principles for democratic elections where Sadc institutions should be allowed to make their decisions, which could be cited to support their stronger case for a re-election,” Hofisi added.
He said critical points were Article 32 of the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, as read with Article 52 of the same charter, which gives national and regional institutions the right to ensure multiparty political governance and free, credible, and fair elections.
Hofisi said in the event of resistance from Zanu PF, the CCC has recourse in other fora.
He said the Sadc extraordinary summit findings could be significant under international and regional law.
According to Hofisi, Sadc, like other regional organisations, has a role in promoting and upholding democratic norms.
The findings could be seen as reinforcing these norms, which are also reflected in international agreements, such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance.
The August 23 and 24 vote was the second election in Zimbabwe since long-time leader Robert Mugabe was deposed by the military in 2017.
Political analysts are, however, predicting a gloomy future for CCC if it fails to address its current internal troubles.
Before the dramatic political developments, analysts had already warned that the CCC was in danger of falling into Zanu PF's trap.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said the CCC faced a real existential threat that could easily be counteracted by an astute leadership doing the right thing.
“The brutal reality is that the presently structureless CCC faces a real existential threat, but such a threat can easily be counteracted by an astute leadership doing the only right and prudent thing,” Masunungure said.
“Let its candidates, preferably the same MPs that had been redeployed to Parliament, register at the nomination court while simultaneously fortifying their positions through the regularisation of the political formation. Any other route is a cul-de-sac (course or route leading nowhere).
"The next credible destination for Nelson Chamisa and his party should be an emergency party congress. An emergency congress is not ideal under normal political conditions, but then the CCC is not operating in normal conditions.”
Masunungure said the CCC was facing extraordinary circumstances that, if mishandled, could easily culminate in the demise of the political formation.
Another political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya said Chamisa and his CCC party needed to confront the ruling party and work out a new arrangement.
“What I believe is Nelson Chamisa and his team need to confront the regime directly. Burning tyres is old school; that to me, does not work,” he said.
“They need to bring the government to the table as an institution and give them an ultimatum. They should tell the ruling party that the reports were conclusive, therefore, the right thing must be done,” he said.
Tshabangu this week threatened legal action against recalled Chamisa-led CCC members, who successfully filed nomination papers ahead of the December 9 by-election, stating that they acted against the High Court ruling.
Both Chamisa and Tshabangu fielded candidates for the by-elections in constituencies including Nketa, Bulawayo South, Cowdry Park, Lobengula-Magwegwe, Beitbridge West and Mzilikazi-Mpopoma.