Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared by-elections in nine constituencies that were controlled by lawmakers from the main opposition party who were stripped of their parliamentary seats.
Friday’s proclamation of new votes is the latest blow to the Citizens Coalition for Change, which has been dogged by infighting and lost presidential and parliamentary elections in August that it claims were rigged. The re-run comes after Songezo Tshabangu, who describes himself as the CCC’s interim secretary-general, wrote to parliamentary speaker Jacob Mudenda to inform him that 14 of the party’s lawmakers had relinquished their membership.
In a high court filing dated Oct. 12, the 14 legislators challenge Tshabangu’s power to recall them, arguing that the CCC had no interim secretary-general position. Its leader, Nelson Chamisa, says Tshabangu has no standing in the party. The court is yet to rule on the matter.
The by-elections will be held on Dec. 9, Mnangagwa said in a government notice. Most will take place in Bulawayo, the second-largest city and an opposition stronghold.
The by-elections could provide a political lifeline to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, who failed to win his bid for a seat in the city on a ruling party ticket in the Aug. 23-24 vote, and may strengthen the ruling party’s hold over the legislature.
The decision undermines the judiciary’s independence because a challenge against the recall of the members of parliament is still pending, said Promise Mkhwananzi, the CCC’s spokesman. “How do you declare by-elections in a case before the courts?” he said by phone.
Source: BNN Bloomberg