Tshabangu poised to collect CCC windfall

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Virginia Mabhiza has issued a vague statement to The NewsHawks on how the government will distribute state funds meant for the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change under the Political Parties (Finance) Act, amid concerns that taxpayer dollars could be used to scandalously enrich elements subverting voters’ democratic rights such as the party’s self-imposed secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.


Tshabangu wantonly recalled CCC elected MPs to give Zanu PF a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.


Nelson Chamisa, who contested the 2023 elections as the CCC presidential candidate, quit the party in a huff, citing heavy infiltration.


The CCC has now fragmented into three factions: one led by Tshabangu, the other by by Professor Welshman Ncube and another loyal to Chamisa.


When asked how the government will distribute the money, given that there are now three factions of the CCC, Mabhiza, who is the government’s top legal adviser, said: “Government will release funds to the party with representation in Parliament in accordance with the law.”


When pressed further to clarify how that will happen, given that the CCC has fragmented into three formations, Mabhiza still remained evasive.


“In the absence of any official communication about the representation in Parliament, and adherence to the legal procedures regarding the status of the members of Parliament belonging to that political party, government will deem it proper to disburse the funds in the manner described above,” she said.


Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi did not respond to questions from Tge NewsHawks.


However, political scientist Professor Eldred Masungure said while it is almost certain that the CCC’s allocation of state funding will be given to Tshabangu, this would be unfair to citizens whose democratic will he has subverted.


“Strictly speaking, this must be settled based on a legal interpretation of what the Political Parties (Finance) Act (PPFA) stipulates, but it’s more likely that politics will cloud jurisprudence.


To this extent, I see what many regard as Zanu-PF’s proxy — Sengezo Tshabangu — getting either the whole share or a large chunk of it. In any case, if the matter goes to court, given the alleged capture of the judiciary system, Tshabangu is again bound to emerge victorious — weird though it might be.


“In the first instance, subverting citizens’ democratic rights is manifestly and unambiguously unfair and a vitiation of the rights of voters to vote for representatives of their choice. This has a lot to do with the egregious recall clause (section 129(1) (k)) of the constitution. The core problem is with the legislation that establishes virtually no conditions as to the use of the funds distributed under the PPFA.


Once the money is disbursed by the state, there is no accountability at all as to what happens thereafter, with the recipient of the funds virtually enjoying unlimited degrees of freedom to use (or abuse) the money,” he said.


Asked to express his view on the assertion that perhaps this law should be amended or repealed so that wishes of voters are respected and also so that no one can hijack taxpayers’ money and use it to fund anti-democratic politics, Masunungure said: “Legislation to fund political parties that meet the stipulated threshold is necessary for expansion and deepening of electoral democracy, but there must be strict but reasonable conditions attached.

This is the case in many other jurisdictions, even in the advanced democracies. It is these conditions and attendant penalties for violating them that appear missing in Zimbabwe’s PPFA.


As such, the legislation needs to be comprehensively amended to inject robust accountability mechanisms that ensure that the funds disbursed are used for legitimate and well-intentioned reasons. In short, it is vital to guard against throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”

He reiterated that irrespective of Zanu PF’s infiltration of opposition parties and converting them into its appendages, the current PPFA is too loose and needs to be tightened to curb the rampant abuse that is presently the norm. Professor of world politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Stephen Chan, concurred.

“All other countries with a multiparty system have stringent audit requirements to account for the expenditure of such funds which may be only expended in any case subject to gazetted rules,” he said.

“The government should fund the faction that can demonstrate most seats in Parliament, but it must have discernible and clearly transparent party structures, including very much the transparency in terms of accounting for funds. Many countries have systems that fund political parties.”

Chan also pointed out that the CCC under Chamisa exposed itself by not setting up structures which is now backfiring ahead of the release of state funds.

“In Zimbabwe’s case, it certainly seems to be the case that external sabotage against the original CCC had a huge impact — but the CCC was open to such sabotage; it had no structures or systems to prevent it. The external sabotage hit an open target,” he said.

Source: *News Hawks*

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