2022: The political good, bad and ugly

…as ED, Chamisa set for a showdown

(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

MOSES MATENGA

 

Politically, 2022 has been a hive of activity with experts saying all what transpired in the year could be a precursor of what lies ahead as the country trudges into what appears to be a more politically charged 2023.

From the formation of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), the March by-elections, death of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali, incarceration of CCC lawmaker Job Sikhala and the passing of the controversial Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill, the year that next week comes to an end can only be an indicator of what lies   ahead of the 2023 elections that are due end of July.

 

Chamisa’s return and birth of CCC  

Politically, the CCC leader had been counted out after MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora snatched all he may have had ever since he took over the party following the death of ex-party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018.

A March 2020 Supreme Court ruling changed Chamisa’s political fortunes and eroded all he had gathered politically from the party name, properties, colours and elected representatives.

February 2022 marked Chamisa’s return with a new outfit addressing his first rally as leader of the CCC.

“CCC is a turning point in modern politics. It puts the citizens, and not the politicians, at the centre of all political decision, policy and law-making. We are a new, fresh, modern and radically different citizens’ project, not a rebranded or repackaged toxic old.

“Everyone is a champion and a leader until we have substantive elected positions. All positions are up for contest when we then choose leaders,” Chamisa told his party supporters during the inaugural rally held at the Zimbabwe Grounds in February.

 

By-elections and the fight for opposition crown

After what appeared to be an act of surrender by Chamisa, Mwonzora upped his recall game and fired councillors and Members of Parliament aligned to his former boss.

This was to trigger by-elections on March 27 in what observers said would decide the “fresh prince of opposition politics.” Chamisa was to win the contest with his party getting 19 seats while Zanu PF got nine. Mwonzora’s MDC-T got none.

Experts say the results proved that the CCC was the new main opposition in town and since then, Mwonzora has not contested in any by-election created by his recalls.

 

Moreblessing Ali’s death and Sikhala’s incarceration  

In May, CCC activist Moreblessing Ali was murdered by a suspected Zanu PF activist sparking political tensions that are yet to be doused.

Ali disappeared in May this year and was last seen being dragged by Jamba into the bush before her dismembered body was two weeks later found dumped in a disused well at the farm of the suspect’s mother in Beatrice.

Job Sikhala, the firebrand CCC Zengeza West MP was to become the lawyer for Ali’s family before he was arrested for allegedly inciting violence at the funeral wake of the slain activist.

Sikhala has been in jail for over 120 days and his applications for bail have been turned down by the Magistrates Court and the High Court respectively.

Ali’s funeral wake in Nyatsime turned into a battlefield that saw violent clashes between Zanu PF and the CCC activists. Sikhala was arrested together with Godfrey Sithole, an MP for St Mary’s who has since been released together with 14 other accused persons.

The opposition and civic society has claimed Sikhala’s incarceration is politically motivated after he has been denied bail several times but recently, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the former MDC-99 leader was author of his own legal woes.

“The issue of Job Sikhala is not political. The Executive is not interfering whatsoever. The only thing that is happening is Job Sikhala has been playing to the gallery and not following the court processes,” Ziyambi said.

“Firstly, he was on remand and strictly given conditions he violated and if you violate bail conditions, you are not given bail.

“Secondly, he goes about collecting signatures and using a petition as change of circumstances. Courts are not supposed to be swayed by public opinion.

“He is one person who cannot point a finger at the Executive and he is the author of his own situation,” Ziyambi added.

Ali’s case has hit international headlines including a discussion in the United Kingdom’s House of Commons.

 

Zanu PF national congress and ED’s re-election

Prior to the Zanu PF national people’s congress, there was speculation on the tiff between the party leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

There were fears of chaos ahead of the congress with factional clashes. More exaggerated in the media was the perceived animosity between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga who was tipped to challenge Mnangagwa at the congress.

The clashes and factional clashes were more pronounced ahead of the congress that however, was held in October with no drama.

Mnangagwa was unchallenged at the congress that saw him reappointing Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi as his two deputies.

 

Zim’s invitation to the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was invited for the first time in as many years to the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit that saw the country’s leader being represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Fredrick Shava.

The invitation was described as a step in the right direction and a positive in the administration’s re-engagement agenda.

However, while there and at the invitation of President Joe Biden, the US placed Mnangagwa’s son Emmerson Jnr on the sanctions list together with individuals and companies linked to Sakunda Holdings boss Kudakwashe Tagwirei.

 

PVOs Amendment Bill

After months of haggling and fierce clashes over the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill, Zanu PF MPs, as if taking a direct instruction from Mnangagwa during the State of the Nation Address last month, fast-tracked its passing in Parliament and will soon be signed into law by Mnangagwa.

The opposition was left frowning together with civic society organisations but their displeasure remains insignificant for now as the horse has already bolted.

While Peter Mutasa of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition claims the bill was draconian and meant to muzzle operations of CSOs, Zanu PF insists it is the right thing to do and curb NGOs dabbling into a regime change agenda.

 

MDC-T congress and the end for Mudzuri, Komichi

The opposition went for its elective congress last week amid chaos.

Norest Marara, a party senior official, dragged Mwonzora to court alleging the manner the nominations were held was unconstitutional and a legal nullity.

Nominations saw Elias Mudzuri and Morgen Komichi falling by the wayside.

The political future remains bleak for the two former Ministers in the inclusive government.

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