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Recalls immersed in Zanu-PF dark world of power

by Staff reporter
19 May 2024 at 11:50hrs | Views
ACADEMIC and researcher Dr Phillan Zamchiya says recalls of CCC legislators by self-imposed secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu which resulted in Zanu-PF attaining a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly are part of the ruling party's dark world of politics and power dating back to the early years of the late president Robert Mugabe's rule when he wanted to neutralise his secretary-general Edgar Tekere.

Zamchiya made the remarks while presenting on the topic "Recalls and Subsequent By-Elections, Lessons Learned and Insights into Democratic Processes in Zimbabwe" during a virtual meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn).

"The background to recalls in Zimbabwe is actually immersed in the dark world of politics and power. Recalls have been used as an instrument to thwart inter- and intra-party competition. In Zimbabwe it was actually in the late 1980s when it was introduced by Zanu-PF to deal with internal politics. It had nothing to do with citizens under the national question of the day.

"Robert Mugabe faced competition from Edgar Tekere, his secretary-general. They expelled him from Zanu-PF. He remained a member of Parliament and they wanted to recall him. That is how it was introduced through a constitutional amendment of 1989," said Zamchiya.

Tekere was eventually not recalled because he then quit Zanu-PF and formed his own party called, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (Zum).

Zamchiya said the recall law is bad and undemocratic and has no space in any representative democracy.

"It is discernible from various international experiences that recalls are used more by countries that are semi-democratic than the countries that can be identified as mature democracies. These recalls are more common for elected representatives than members of the executive," he said.

The democratic cost of Tshabangu's shenanigans that saw him recalling elected CCC MPs to give Zanu-PF a two-thirds majority in the lower House has seen the party clawing its way back into urban areas from the woodwork. The party was largely exiled to rural areas by the now defunct MDC from 2000.

Observers say Tshabangu's manoeuvres, supported by the executive, Parliament and the judiciary, as well as state security agents and bitter individuals in blind fury, have taken the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe backwards.

After delivering a parliamentary two-thirds majority for Zanu-PF and urban seats, Tshabangu named the price: A senate seat, Toyota Fortuner and money.

He is now living large after delivering for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, with whom he now hobnobs.

The recalls have also cost the nation through taxpayers' money used to run by-elections which translates into millions of United States dollars for a country whose poverty-stricken citizens are struggling to survive.

Zamchiya explained that a recall can be basically viewed as a mechanism that is used to allow the removal of an elected official, be it an MP or a councillor, from office before his or her term is complete without actually waiting for the next general election.

He added that usually recalls are relevant in a political system that is based on representative democracy.

"Let me say that jurisdictions differ on this question but, generally speaking, I can attest that recalls happen at four tiers of government, of course depending on the political system. That is at the presidential level, your president can actually be recalled. For example, if you look at Venezuela, article 7.2 of the constitution, Romania, Taiwan, and so forth. Secondly, it can happen at parliamentary level. Look at the United Kingdom, where only MPs can be recalled, but also at a regional and local authority level.

"So some jurisdictions actually provide for a recall at all levels, whilst others provide for a recall at only one level. In terms of how these officials can actually be recalled, I think there are three main mechanisms that are used the world over. I think the first one is the intra-party-initiated recall, where you have a political party actually recalling its members and then you have a by-election.

"This is probably the Zimbabwe model, which is optimised by section 129, sub-section 1K, and also section 278, sub-section 1, which provides for the recall of local authority members and MPs. And the second main one, across the world, is what I call perhaps the low threshold," he said.

Zamchiya holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in international development from the University of Oxford, a Master of Philosophy degree in land and agrarian studies from the University of the Western Cape and a Bachelor of Science degree in politics and administration from the University of Zimbabwe.

In addition, Zamchiya currently serves on the international editorial boards of Oxford Development Studies and the Journal of Southern African Studies.

Source - newshawks