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Zanu PF Govt Accused Of “Weaponising” Law To Undermine Opposition

Sengezo Tshabangu

Annahstacia Ndlovu

Bulawayo—The Zanu PF government’s decision to allocate opposition party funds to a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) group led by Sengezo Tshabangu is meant to weaken a popular rival faction previously led by Nelson Chamisa and will worsen Zimbabwe’s integrity, analysts have said.

Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, recently told a government-controlled publication that they had allocated the money to the Tshabangu faction under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

The statute provides for prorated funding for any political party that garners at least 5 percent of votes cast in a general election and the money is disbursed on a yearly basis.

Of the 280 contested seats at the 2023 general elections, Zanu PF won 56.18 percent while CCC received 41.46 percent.

NewsHub could not immediately establish the amounts to be allocated to the two deserving parties.

The funds should have been disbursed well before June, and the justice minister claimed that the delay was due to the “non-availability” of the Finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, to process the money.

After the elections, factions emerged within the CCC.

Tshabangu took advantage of the absence of structures within the opposition party and imposed himself as its interim secretary general who went on to recall, with the approval of the courts and the speaker of parliament, Jacob Mudenda, who is a senior Zanu PF functionary.

This forced Nelson Chamisa, the CCC founder to who Tshabangu was opposed, to quit the party in a huff, leaving a sympathetic faction led by Jameson Timba to lead a counter grouping that also claimed the funds.

Rejoice Ngwenya, a political analyst who also leads the Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions (Comaliso), says the “partisan” allocation of funds to the Tshabangu faction “reflects the crisis of Zimbabwe’s fake democracy”.

He questioned the government decision to allocate money to a political formation led by unelected individuals.

Tshabangu, who recently imposed himself as a senator, remains the self-anointed faction secretary general and the current head of the party is Welshman Ncube, who is also unelected.

“Tshabangu has neither a political party nor was he voted by anyone. He is a pure fabrication and creation of Zanu PF. This shows their (Zanu PF’s) desperation to decimate Nelson Chamisa’s opposition gravitas. They (Zanu PF) are weaponising the Political Parties (Finance) Act to decimate the opposition,” Ngwenya told NewsHub.

But, Ngwenya added: “Money cannot create political integrity. Ziyambi Ziyambi is throwing taxpayers’ money into a political black-hole.”

The Southern Africa Development Community (SAD) election observer mission led by former Zambian deputy president, Nevers Mumba, condemned the conduct of the 2023 elections, together with several other foreign teams.

“The ruling party has already shown a high degree of disregard for constitutionalism and democracy because they created this current scenario in order to destroy CCC, in the sense that while the constitution allows for recalls, these recalls must be by a political party and not an individual (Tshabangu),” said Ngwenya.

He accused Zanu PF of using its parliamentary majority to ensure government allocated money to its “political cronies” like Tshabangu’s faction.

Previously, the government preferred to allocate political party funds to an opposition faction led by Douglas Mwonzora ahead of Chamisa’s MDC-Alliance.

Mthulisi Hanana, the secretary general of Zapu, a political party mostly active in southern Zimbabwe, accused Tshabangu of conniving with Zanu PF, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the courts to undermine the opposition.

“We congratulate Tshabangu for being a thief. He is not different from Zanu PF. However, what is happening in Zimbabwe is a sad development. We are setting up a bad precedent that is going to haunt future opposition,” he said.

However, a pro-Zanu PF analyst, Richard Mahomva, defended the allocation of the funds to the Tshabangu faction.

“Tshabangu is the secretary-general of CCC as determined by the laws governing this country and his legal status gives legitimacy over the process. Anything to the contrary would be a violation of freedom of association. It would be an absolute repression of political liberties in Zimbabwe.

“Sentiments around his popularity or lack of it thereof should not affect his legal entitlements at the same time disenfranchising a political party that he serves as the secretary general,” said Mahomva in an interview with this publication.

Source: Zanu PF govt accused of “weaponising” law to undermine opposition – News Hub Zimbabwe

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