Prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has advised Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa against disengaging parliamentarians and councillors.
This comes after Chamisa said CCC parliamentarians and councillors are disengaging from parliamentary and council business respectively for two weeks.
In a lenghty post on X, Hopewell said CCC cannot disengage because, everything will be collapsed by ZANUPF to make a case for a Commission to take over.
He gave ZANUPF 2 weeks to respond to his demands for dialogue, a return to Rule of Law and more importantly, curing the election dispute. What does Disengagement mean, and how different is it from withdrawal? I have been asked this question by many people, Disengagement as said by Chamisa is simply not turning up for work for 2 weeks. What I know is that CCC can’t technically Disengage from councils because everything would collapse including service delivery. Let me put it differently, everything will be collapsed by ZANUPF to make a case for a Commission to take over.
CCC will make reference to the constitution, but does ZANUPF care about the constitution? ZANUPF will use that opportunity to take over opposition controlled councils and use the infamous Commissions legally or illegally, so CCC can’t Disengage from council and shouldn’t do so. Disengagement from councils they fully control is the equivalent to boycotting themselves at the expense of allowing ZANUPF free reign. Parliament doesn’t meet everyday, so CCC can afford to easily skip 6 sessions which are the equivalent of 2 weeks.
But the point to be made is that many CCC parliamentarians had already been banned from parliament for 6 sessions which is 2 weeks anyway in a draconian ruling by Jacob Mudenda the speaker of parliament. Disengaging and total Withdrawal are different things, Nelson Chamisa made this absolutely clear too. He choose not to leave, but he can’t use the Disengagement approach in councils that he fully controls.
CCC will be conveniently accused of dereliction of duty if councils collapse, the last thing Zimbabwe needs are corrupt ZANUPF Commissioners running an equally corrupt Commission. It is safe to say for now Nelson Chamisa has chosen a Do Nothing Approach for 2 weeks whilst waiting to see if ZANUPF will react to CCC representatives not turning up for work and whether ZANUPF will respond to his demands. Disengagement also happened during the GNU when Morgan Tsvangirai walked out of cabinet, but this was different because their GNU agreement had a political midwife, Thabo Mbeki and SADC.
Today’s Disengagement has no such anchor or an institution underpinning it and will not cause a political crisis or earthquake for ZANUPF. Chamisa is right to say that the country faces a political and constitutional crisis authored by ZANUPF, but as long as that crisis doesn’t threaten ZANUPF, nothing will change without regional intervention. How ZANUPF will react to Chamisa temporarily withdrawing his representatives for 2 weeks will give Zimbabweans and the region an idea whether ZANUPF has an interest in attending to Chamisa’s demands or not. It will also show whether Chamisa’s diplomatic charm offensive in SADC has worked or not because without their intervention, nothing will happen.
I don’t want to make any predictions, but you already know what I would have said. ZANUPF needs a very strong drink to respond, not an ordinary cordial, two weeks is not far. Time will tell!