High Court Reserves Judgement in Political Party Dispute

November 22, 2023
zimbabwe high court | Report Focus News
zimbabwe high court

In a significant development in the political landscape, the High Court, presided over by Justice Tawanda Chitapi, has reserved judgement in a high-profile case involving the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). The legal battle revolves around the actions of Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the interim secretary general of the CCC, and his decision to recall numerous party members from their positions.

The controversy began when Tshabangu recalled 15 CCC Members of Parliament, nine senators, and 17 councillors on October 4, citing their alleged cessation from party membership. This move sparked a swift backlash within the party, leading to an appeal in the High Court by the expelled members. However, their case was dismissed due to a lack of sufficient evidence proving their continued affiliation with the opposition party.

In response to these events, CCC filed an urgent court application aiming to prevent Tshabangu from acting as a representative of the party. An interim interdict was issued last week, signaling a temporary halt to Tshabangu’s actions.

During the court hearing on Tuesday, CCC’s lawyer, Obey Shava, argued passionately for the interdict. He highlighted the disruptive nature of the recalls, emphasizing the “unfair and irreparable harm” they inflicted on the party’s structure. Shava stressed the urgency of the situation, expressing concerns that the ongoing dispute could result in the complete removal of CCC-appointed members from both parliament and council positions.

Shava further criticized Tshabangu’s actions, likening them to reaping the benefits of the party’s hard work without having contributed to its successes, especially in the context of the August 2023 elections.

On the other side of the legal aisle, Tshabangu’s legal representative, Lewis Uriri, argued for the dismissal of CCC’s application. He pointed out the party’s delay in initiating legal proceedings, which only began after the recalls had been announced and confirmed.

The High Court’s decision to reserve judgement has left the political future of the CCC’s recalled members in limbo. This case not only has significant implications for the individuals involved but also for the broader political dynamics within the party and the nation. The final judgement, when pronounced, is expected to set a precedent for how internal party disputes and recalls are handled in the future.