“Zimbabwean Govt Spent USD5 Million Conducting Needless By-election, Denied Citizens To Vote” – CCC

Source: “Zimbabwean Govt Spent USD5 Million Conducting Needless By-election, Denied Citizens To Vote” – CCC

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), has criticised the government for the way the by-elections held on 9 December 2023 were conducted. The CCC believes that these by-elections were unnecessary and that the government denied citizens the opportunity to vote.

The party’s spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, released a statement condemning the by-elections after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that ZANU PF had won 7 out of the 9 Parliamentary seats. These seats were previously held by CCC, which had won them in the August 2023 harmonized elections. The seats became vacant after Sengezo Tshabangu, the self-proclaimed interim secretary-general of CCC, recalled the CCC Members of Parliament, accusing them of no longer belonging to the party.

The CCC alleges that ZANU PF influenced Tshabangu to recall CCC MPs and argues that ZANU PF was the mastermind behind these by-elections. CCC MPs who had been recalled were barred by the courts from participating in the by-elections. Read Mkwananzi’s statement seen by Pindula News:

Statement on the Fraudulent By-Elections

The just-ended ZANU PF masterminded by-elections gave the full picture of the regime’s brazen determination to undermine democracy, shred the constitution and deny citizens their inalienable right to vote representatives of their choice.

What is worse is a showcase of a complicit judiciary in undermining the very laws they are supposed to uphold. In a string of judicial absurdities on the eve of the by-elections, at midnight, Justice Muzenda, who contested ZANU PF primary elections in 2013, was brought from Mutare to deliver a nocturnal “order to execute” the Katiyo Judgement without granting CCC and it’s candidates their right to be heard through a lawyer of their choice.

Whereas the court was willing to hear ZANU PF imposters Tshabangu in the heart of the night, it refused to hear our appeal on an urgent basis with respect to the Mutevedzi Judgement.

Despite being the party sponsoring the recalled candidates and being party to the both the Katiyo proceedings and the resultant appeal, the CCC was not invited to Justice Muzenda’s Justice sojourn.

The party took all necessary legal steps to ensure the inclusion of our candidates on the ballot through appealing the misdirected Judgement by Justice Katiyo arising from an equally misdirected initial Judgement by Justice Mutevedzi. It is sad that more than forty years after independence, citizens have to approach the courts to be on the ballot paper and actually being denied that right, effectively denying citizens the choice to vote for the removed candidates.

The effect of the biased judgement is a judicial coup on the concerned constituencies and a result that is illegitimate and unrepresentative of the will of the voters. This further exacerbates the ongoing legitimacy impasse stemming out of the flawed sham of the 23rd of August 2023.

It is disturbing that the government spent a whooping USD5 million dollars conducting needless by-election only to deny citizens the choice to vote in that election further evidence of scarce financial resources poured down the drain at a time when resources are direly required to combat cholera, equip hospitals and prepare emergency measures for the forecasted severe drought.

The ill-fated by-elections are a sham as evidenced by an unprecedented low voter turn out and unusually high number of spoilt ballots both signalling the people’s anger and growing impatience against the regime’s shenanigans.

Coupled with the flawed and contested outcome of the 23rd of August 2023, the effect of this order is a judicial coup on the right to vote and to be voted for in Zimbabwe-an undeniable affront against the constitution of Zimbabwe. Accordingly, we will be filing a formal complaint with the Judicial Service Commission.

Under the continued leadership and guidance of CCC President Advocate Nelson Chamisa we continue to reiterate that only SADC-facilitated dialogue with a view to implement the reforms necessary to enable the conduction of a fresh election is the only solution to Zimbabwe’s deepening legitimacy and political crisis.