Zimbabwe Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Ousted CCC Legislators

November 8, 2023
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Zimbabwe Supreme Court

In a dramatic twist to an ongoing political dispute, members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) have escalated their battle to the Supreme Court, challenging the legitimacy of their recall from the National Assembly. This legal move follows a High Court decision on November 4, 2023, that dismissed their earlier plea for reinstatement, thus setting the stage for a crucial legal showdown.

The High Court, presided over by Justice Munamato Mutevedzi, ruled against the application by the CCC members, leaving the decision by Sengezo Tshabangu — who claims to be the acting Secretary General of the party — to recall the legislators unchallenged. The decision also allowed for the electoral process to continue, with the Nomination Court sitting on November 7 and the by-elections scheduled for December 9.

Despite submitting their nomination papers for the forthcoming by-elections, the CCC representatives are not conceding defeat in their legal quest. They are firmly seeking redress at the Supreme Court to overturn the recall, indicating a determination to retain their parliamentary seats.

In an intriguing countermove, Tshabangu has signaled his intention to contest the participation of the MPs he recalled, potentially creating a further legal entanglement. The Notice of Appeal, dated November 6, 2023, clearly sets out the CCC members’ case against the High Court’s judgment, which they believe contained several legal oversights.

The appellants, constituting 14 MPs, have named Tshabangu, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as respondents. They assert that the High Court erroneously sided with Tshabangu regarding the recall’s validity and that the burden of proof should rest with Tshabangu to demonstrate his authority for such action.

Moreover, the CCC legislators contend that the High Court’s decision to dismiss their case based on the non-inclusion of the Citizens Coalition for Change as a party was contradictory to its previous findings. The appeal criticizes the court for not joining the party to the case of its own accord, an action within its legal powers.

The relief sought by the CCC members is extensive, calling for the Supreme Court to allow their appeal and to cover the legal costs. They demand that the High Court’s judgment be replaced with a declaration of the illegality of Tshabangu’s recall and an interdiction against any further interference with their parliamentary duties.

The impending Supreme Court decision is awaited with bated breath, as it stands to impact not only the political careers of the involved legislators but also the broader dynamics within the Citizens Coalition for Change and the Zimbabwean political landscape at large