In a significant blow to the democratic process in Zimbabwe, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), led by Nelson Chamisa, has been banned from participating in the recent by-elections. This ban, orchestrated by Sengezo Tshabangu, the CCC’s interim secretary-general, marks a disturbing trend in the nation’s political landscape, signaling deep-rooted judicial capture and a compromised state of oversight institutions like the Parliament.

The CCC, despite facing formidable opposition, had previously demonstrated considerable strength in the 23 and 24 August elections. They posed a significant challenge to Zanu PF’s aim of securing a two-thirds majority. The success of CCC candidates such as Pashor Sibanda in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park and Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi in Mabvuku-Tafara, in the face of well-funded Zanu PF opponents, showcased that financial power does not always ensure electoral victory. However, the landscape of Zimbabwean politics took a dramatic turn when subsequent court rulings barred popular CCC candidates like Kufahakutizwi and Sibanda from contesting, indicating a judicial bias in favor of Tshabangu.

This alarming scenario, widely perceived as being orchestrated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is seen as a strategic move to edge Zimbabwe towards a one-party state. This comes despite the substantial opposition support evident in the August elections. Such a blatant disregard for democratic principles has not only disheartened many Zimbabweans but also led analysts to draw parallels with the tactics employed by the late Robert Mugabe.

Prominent experts, including Ibbo Mandaza and Stephen Chan, have expressed grave concerns over this political trajectory. Chan, in particular, has suggested a more radical stance for the CCC. Rashweat Mukundu, a political analyst, emphasized the necessity for CCC to rethink its role in the Parliament and councils, considering the apparent political capture of state institutions.

The banning of CCC from the by-elections raises fears of potential civil disobedience and unrest. It is a development that signals a new low in Zimbabwean politics, endangering the fabric of democracy in the country. It not only threatens the stability of Zimbabwe’s political landscape but also risks leading to a more fractured and volatile environment.

The international community, along with local political actors, are at a crossroads. The choice is between standing by as witnesses to the erosion of democratic norms or taking decisive steps to address the judicial and political biases that threaten the very essence of democracy in Zimbabwe.

As Zimbabwe faces this crucial juncture, the actions or inactions of both local and international stakeholders will determine the future trajectory of the nation’s democracy. The CCC’s struggle is not just a battle for political space but a fight for the preservation of democratic values in a country that has witnessed its fair share of political turmoil.

This development serves as a stark reminder of the challenges that emerging democracies face. It underlines the importance of vigilance, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to democratic principles in the face of growing authoritarian tendencies.

As Zimbabwe grapples with this undemocratic setback, the world watches closely. The outcome of this struggle will not only shape the future of Zimbabwe but also offer lessons for other nations striving to uphold democratic values amidst the rising tide of authoritarianism.

  1. CCC was not merely banned from contesting, allow the courts to do their job and stop spreading propaganda to steer emotions and push your own agenda. CCC failed its supporters, period!

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