THERE was chaos in Parliament yesterday after anti-riot police were called in to eject opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators for protesting the recall of their 15 colleagues.
A Bulawayo-based CCC supporter who claims to be the party’s interim secretary-general, Sengezo Tshabangu, has recalled 15 CCC Members of Parliament (MPs) and 17 councillors alleging that they had ceased to be members of the opposition party.
Yesterday, chaos broke out after Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, officially announced the recall of the MPs.
Opposition MPs broke into song and chanted slogans denouncing Mudenda soon after the announcement, bringing business in the National Assembly to a halt.
CCC interim organising secretary Amos Chibaya said Mudenda was offside for accepting Tshabangu’s letter.
“Mr Speaker, we wrote a letter to you dated September 11, notifying you that all communication comes from our president (Nelson) Chamisa,” Chibaya said
“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, resulting in anti-riot police being called in to eject them.
Efforts to get a comment from national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Mudenda also ruled that all CCC MPs would be banned from attending Parliament for six sittings and lose two months’ salaries for boycotting Mnangagwa’s state of the nation address last week.
As the chaos continued to rock the CCC, Chamisa was meeting party members in marathon meetings in Harare to plot the way forward following the recall of his MPs and councillors.
CCC interim spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said they would announce their next move in due course.
“Action will be taken after a collective decision of all party organs,” Mkwananzi said.
“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.”
Chamisa and the CCC have dismissed Tshabangu as an impostor and Zanu PF proxy.
Zanu PF has, however, distanced itself from the recalls.
In a related development, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa also staged a solo demonstration in Harare against the MPs’ recalls.
She held a placard written, “Tshabangu, respect our vote” during her protest.
“I did it to ease the anger that was bottling inside me,” Mtetwa told NewsDay yesterday.
“The recalls are an insult to the people of Bulawayo. Their right has been taken by one person. For Mudenda, a lawyer, it’s an embarrassment to the law profession. He disregarded the dictates of the law and acted in favour of political machinations.”
Mudenda said he could not comment on the matter outside Parliament.
He said: “I don’t discuss these issues over the phone. You better check Hansard for my position on this issue.”
Meanwhile, Tshabangu’s spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni yesterday disowned a letter that was circulating on social media claiming that he had also expelled Chamisa from the party.
The letter claimed that Chamisa had been expelled for personalising the party, among other accusations.
“It’s a fake letter, there is nothing truthful about it. Those are people trying to be mischievous for nothing,” Phugeni said.
Chamisa launched the CCC in January last year after being elbowed out of the MDC Alliance by Douglas Mwonzora.
Mwonzora went on to grab the party headquarters, symbols and emblems from him.
The CCC has not held a congress to elect a substantive leadership since its formation.