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Chamisa exit throws fresh election push in jeopardy

by Staff reporter
02 Feb 2024 at 17:26hrs | Views
NELSON Chamisa's spirited diplomatic offensive to push the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to facilitate fresh elections in Zimbabwe is effectively dead in the water after the politician quit the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which he formed two (2) years ago, observers told the Independent.

In a dramatic move last week, Chamisa announced that he was leaving the CCC cockpit citing that the political party's self-imposed secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu had hijacked the outfit ‘at the behest of Zanu-PF.

Chamisa's shock move which has rattled the Zimbabwean political landscape, was triggered by Tshabangu's actions to recall dozens of CCC legislators from the House of Assembly.

A number of by-elections have since been held in some of the affected constituencies, with the next polls set to be held tomorrow.

The ruling Zanu-PF has increased its representation in Parliament since the recalls began, as it angles to attain a twothirds majority.

The CCC, which lost last year's disputed elections to Zanu-PF with Chamisa as its presidential candidate launched a spirited campaign to nudge Sadc to organise fresh elections in Zimbabwe.

This came after the regional bloc's observer mission led by former Zambian vice president Nevers Mumba failed to give the polls a clean bill of health, highlighting that they were conducted outside Zimbabwe's constitutional framework.

Broadly, the regional body underscored that the polls failed to satisfy "Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections."

Several observer missions including the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth also discredited the polls-which Chamisa described as a "gigantic fraud."

Sadc's unprecedented stance on Zimbabwe's contested polls triggered a fierce backlash from top Zimbabwean government officials who indicated that Mumba-in his role as head of observer mission was being used by the West to effect regime change in Harare.

Even though several Sadc leaders congratulated President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his victory, only three Sadc heads of state attended Mnangagwa's inauguration.

These are Cyril Ramaphosa of South Afric), Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President Filipe Nyusi, the Mozambican head of state.

As a pushback, Zanu-PF, which waged the armed struggle that led to Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980 vigorously canvassed for solidarity from liberation struggle movements in Africa including South Afirca's African National Congress (NCA), Frelimo in Mozambique and Namibia's Swapo.

It also canvassed with Chama ChaMapinduzi in Tanzania.

In the wake of last year's contested polls, Sadc has convened a series of summits to discuss Zimbabwe electoral crisis, among other regional security matters.

Political analysts told the Independent that Chamisa's decision to jump from the CCC ship which is being buffeted by fierce factional storms dented its credibility to lobby Sadc to call for fresh elections in Zimbabwe.

Notably, Professor of World Politics at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies Stephen Chan told this publication that Chamisa's failure to galvanise support from key opposition elements in Zimbabwe will "lower his credibility and standing in Sadc."

Chan observed: "The view from Sadc is that the Zimbabwean opposition has torn itself apart and has no credibility at this stage. Sadc will wait to see what a reorganised opposition looks like and what policies it represents. Right now, Sadc will not commit to anything from any faction of the opposition."

The renowned academic, who was deported from Zimbabwe by authorities on the eve of last year's elections indicated that Chamisa's decision to abandon the embattled CCC left Zimbabwe without any solid opposition party.

"And, if Chamisa is not leading a united opposition, his credibility and standing in Sadc becomes lower. He had credibility as a possible future President," Chan told the Independent this week.

"Right now, 2028 is a long way off and, at this precise moment in time, there is effectively no opposition, certainly not one with coordinated and united weight."

Another political analyst Tendai Mbofana opined that Sadc's stance towards the

"Zimbabwean political crisis," would not change as a result of Chamisa's decision to abandon CCC."

"When it comes to the issue of Sadc, I honestly do not think Chamisa's move to withdraw as leader of CCC will change how the bloc has been treating the Zimbabwean issue in any way," he said.

"Sadc is not really interested anymore in the Zimbabwean issue. If Sadc was interested, this would have started when the final election observer report was tabled in Angola last year during the extraordinary summit of heads of state. But that did not happen."

Considering that historically, Sadc has been gripped by disputes of electoral fraud, Mbofana added, the regional body would not be forced to act in any way due to Chamisa's decision to walk away from the CCC.

"It was a wrong strategy by Chamisa to leave CCC if he was entertaining the hope that Sadc would act. That is not going to happen. Soon, Zimbabwe will take on the chairmanship of Sadc. It is business as usual," he said.

"The Zimbabwean issue is a closed chapter as far as Sadc is concerned. Sadc is a grouping of comrades who protect each other. The issue of disputed elections is not unique to Zimbabwe."

Zimbabwe will host the 44th Sadc summit this year and will assume the bloc's chairmanship until 2025.

Angola is currently chairing the regional body.

Deliberations of Zimbabwe's disputed polls were being conducted under the Sadc troika of the organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.

The Sadc organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation presides over matters affecting peace and security in all member states as enshrined in Article 11 of the Protocol, of which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

On that basis, Sadc intervened in Zimbabwe following another flawed election in 2008, leading to the formation of a transitional Government of National Unity (GNU) led by the late president Robert Mugabe and his bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki mediated in the negotiations between the political opponents.

Tsvangirai was Zimbabwe's Prime minister until the unity government ended in 2013.

Source - the independent
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