‘Recalls have no space in our democracy’

ZIMBABWE’S recall clause, which was born out of the need to thwart inter and intra-party competition, has no space in any material representative democracy, analysts and political players have said.

Zimbabwe has now conducted three rounds of National Assembly by-elections in less than nine months after the 2023 harmonized election.

The by-elections followed recalls by self-proclaimed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu, who went on a rampage after the general election, recalling more than 20 CCC legislators.

In terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution, legislators can be recalled from Parliament through a letter written by a political party to the Speaker of the National Assembly.

But speaking during a virtual forum organized by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Oxford-trained Zimbabwean academic and researcher Phillan Zamchiya said the recall clause was bad and an undemocratic law.

“Zimbabwe has a bad and undemocratic law. Section 129, which provides for recalls by political parties, has no space in any material representative democracy. It was for expedition in 2013 because the Constitution-making process was controlled by dominant political parties,” he said.

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“The background to recalls in Zimbabwe is immersed in the dark world of politics and power. Recalls have been used as an instrument to thwart inter and intra-party competition.

“In Zimbabwe, it was actually in the 1980s when it was introduced by Zanu PF to deal with its internal politics. “It had nothing to do with citizens under the national question of the day.”

Labor Economists and African Democrats president Linda Masarira said the recalls had caused a lot of divisions within parties while compromising trust within party members.

She also revealed that her CCC counterparts confided in her that they were confused and did not know who to trust.

“The state of opposition is that it is in a quagmire and there is a lot of mistrust and there is no intra-party democracy anymore,” she said.

“People just have to bootlick to maintain their position in the party and I think it is going to take time to see an organized opposition in our country.”

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