Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF has rallied its suporters for Saturday’s upcoming parliamentary by-elections after a High Court on Thursday barred most opposition candidates from running.
The ruling party now eyes a supermajority in votes without opponents following the latest Harare High court ruling in favour of Sengezo Tshabangu, whom the CCC leadership has described as an impostor. In October, claiming to be the party’s interim secretary general, Tshabangu had the seats of 14 CCC lawmakers declared vacant by parliament.
Patrick Chinamasa, ZANU-PF Treasurer and Politburo Member speaking at a rally in Harare on Thursday derided the opposition saying the “infighting has given us an opportunity for the ruling party to contest in the by-election.”
Chinamasa alleged the opposition is being controlled by a lot of external forces. “This ends up confusing even Chamisa himself [Nelson Chamisa, leader of main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change]”.
Barring a Supreme Court reversal, the ruling ZANU-PF will now pick up some easy seats as it moves closer to changing the constitution. They are currently 10 seats short of the supermajority in the 280 member parliament.
The political crisis has been growing since the group of MPs with the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) had their seats declared vacant in October.
The recalled MPs sought to win their seats back in the new votes scheduled for Saturday. Tshabangu argued that they could not run under the CCC banner without his approval and won in court.
The case has sharpened political tensions that have been high in the southern African country since an August 23 vote that international observers said fell short of democratic standards..
Analysts believe the ruling party wants to remove a two-term presidential limit, and allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 81, to cement his control over the nation.
The CCC, led by Nelson Chamisa, a 45-year-old lawyer and pastor, has complained about a campaign of intimidation against its members before and after the vote.
Source: Africa News