There was chaos in Parliament on Monday when anti-riot police were called to remove opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators who were protesting the recall of their 15 colleagues. A CCC supporter from Bulawayo, Sengezo Tshabangu, claimed to be the party’s interim secretary-general and initiated the recall of 15 CCC Members of Parliament (MPs) and 17 councillors, alleging that they were no longer members of the party.
When Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, officially announced the recall of the MPs, opposition MPs responded by singing and chanting slogans against Mudenda, bringing the proceedings to a halt. CCC interim organising secretary Amos Chibaya argued that Mudenda was wrong to accept Tshabangu’s letter, stating that all communication should come from their president, Nelson Chamisa. NewsDay quotes him as saying:
"Mr Speaker, we wrote a letter to you dated September 11, notifying you that all communication comes from our president (Nelson) Chamisa.
I don’t think it is proper for you to rule in favour of Tshabangu."
Mudenda ordered the recalled MPs to leave the House, but they refused and continued singing party songs. As a result, anti-riot police were called in to remove them. Mudenda also imposed a ban on all CCC MPs from attending Parliament for six sessions and docked their salaries for boycotting President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s State of the Nation address the previous week.
While the chaos unfolded, Chamisa held meetings in Harare with party members to plan the way forward after the recall of MPs and councillors. CCC interim spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi dismissed Tshabangu as an impostor and a proxy for the ruling Zanu PF party. He said:
"Action will be taken after a collective decision of all party organs.
The consultative process is underway today (yesterday).
We are having a series of meetings to discuss the issue and we will advise our members of the next step.
But we will not allow Zanu PF to subvert the will of the people."
Zanu PF, however, distanced itself from the recalls.
Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa staged a solo demonstration in Harare against the recalls, holding a placard that read, “Tshabangu, respect our vote.” She expressed her anger over the recalls and criticised Mudenda for favouring political interests over the law.
Tshabangu’s spokesperson denied a circulating letter claiming that Chamisa had also been expelled from the party, stating that it was a fake document. The CCC was formed in January 2022 after the Supreme Court ruled that Chamisa was not the leader of the MDC. The CCC has yet to hold a congress to elect a permanent leadership since its establishment.