10th Parly makes history . . . as it moves to new building

Zimbabwe’s 10th Parliament was elected in the August 2023 harmonised elections made history by becoming the first one to use the imposing new Parliament building in Mt Hampden, which was constructed through a US$200 million grant from China.

The relocation to Mt Hampden came 100 years after the first Parliament established by the colonial government used the old building in Harare’s central business district in 1923.

However, the tension that characterised the opposition CCC in the run up to the harmonised elections, which it lost, eventually came to the fore soon after legislators were sworn-in when a faction led by the party’s secretary general, Mr Sengezo Tshabangu, recalled 15 legislators.

In his letter of recall, Mr Tshabangu said the legislators had ceased to be members of the CCC, amid allegations they had been imposed on the electorate in the run-up to the elections by party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, exposing the shortcomings of his “strategic ambiguity” stance he had adopted.

Before the dust had settled following the initial recalls, Mr Tshabangu struck again, recalling a further 18 legislators from both the National Assembly and Senate.

During by-elections held on December 9 to replace the recalled legislators, Zanu PF won seven of the nine contested seats, increasing its dominance in the National Assembly to 144 of the electable constituencies.

With more by-elections scheduled for February 3 this new year, the ruling party is expected to further enhance its majority in the National Assembly, with seemingly no end in sight to the factionalism rocking the CCC.

The faction led by Mr Tshabangu has fielded its own candidates to take part in the polls while the Mr Chamisa-led faction has defiantly deployed the recalled MPs to try and retain their seats through the by-elections.

However, in a clear exhibition of the confusion within the beleaguered party, both factions are using Mr Chamisa’s face as their logo with ballot papers set to bear the opposition leader’s image when they are printed.

The by-elections will be held in Pelandaba, Goromonzi South, Seke, Chegutu West, Zvimba East and Mkoba North constituencies.

Political analyst Mr Tinashe Tiki said the implosion in the CCC was evidence of the lack of grassroots connection in the beleaguered opposition party.

“The divisions within the CCC are an extension of the factional fights that have characterised the opposition party in its various guises since the formation of the MDC.

“As a foreign-sponsored party, it lacks connection with ordinary Zimbabweans as it answers to its sponsors in the West and lacks any ideological grounding,” he said.

Another analyst, Mr Goodwine Mureriwa, said the fights in the CCC vindicated the decision by Zimbabweans to reject it in last August’s polls. “The fights within the opposition party are about individuals and not about anything they want to offer the electorate.

“This shows that Zimbabweans were right to reject the opposition during the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections,” he said.

As a New Year begins today, many Zimbabweans — including Zanu PF supporters — are hopeful of new developments while for the CCC, it’s the fear of the Tshabangu axe.


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