Harare—The recent resignation from parliament by former Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker for Mount Pleasant. Fadzayi Mahere, in solidarity with Nelson Chamisa has come under scrutiny, with analysts describing it as betrayal of the constituency that voted her at the August 2023 elections.
Chamisa, who headed the formation of CCC in January 2022, abruptly quit as party leader just under two weeks ago, complaining that the formation had been hijacked by the ruling Zanu PF.
This followed a string of CCC recalls instigated by Sengezo Tshabangu, a party member who took advantage of the absence of a constitution and formal structures to impose himself as the interim secretary general.
Immediately after Chamisa’s dramatic departure from CCC on its second anniversary, Mahere—a close ally of the former party president and ex-spindoctor—followed suit and tendered her resignation to parliament, leaving the Mount Peasant seat vacant.
She then took to X after her resignation last Monday and wrote: “Thank you, Mt Pleasant constituency, for having faith in me. Despite feeling a profound sense of sadness for all I had hoped we could do together to build a pleasant Mt Pleasant, I have officially submitted my resignation from parliament and will cease to be a member of CCC”.
Several CCC legislators, some of who alleged Chamisa never warned them about his decision to quit, have publicly expressed their sympathy for their former leader but are yet to resign from parliament.
Allan Markham who won the Harare East seat on a CCC ticket last year, is the only other Chamisa loyalist who quit the party late last week but is yet to communicate that to parliament, according to online reports.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, said, by leaving her constituency orphaned, Mahere had betrayed the electorate in preference of Chamisa as an individual.
“Unless she knows what most people don’t, it appears to be a knee-jerk, stampeded decision not grounded in a reflective analysis. That’s the tragedy of loyalty to personalities rather than institutions,” he told NewsHub.
Masunungure said Mahere must have stuck to the constituency that showed its faith in her when Zimbabweans went to vote last August, adding that she also should have hazarded a recall by Tshabangu rather than leaving hurriedly.
“She would have gained a lot of political and moral mileage if she had waited to be recalled by the dark forces rather than recalling herself and giving the impression of utter and callous disregard for her constituency and orphaning the thousands who braved the harsh political environment to go out to vote for a candidate of their choice,” said Masunungure, a former advisor to the late Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
World politics professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Stephen Chan also said Mahere’s decision to resign was flawed.
“Resignations from parliament are an abdication of responsibility to constituents. They (the electorate) come first. The party comes second. The party leader comes third. This is the essence of democratic representation. If people voted for you, you have a responsibility to those voters,” he said.
Chan added that Mahere’s resignation had further weakened the opposition in parliament through reduced numbers.
By-elections called for December last year have already depleted CCC senatorial, lower house and council numbers, with the party expected to lose more after the second wave of mini-elections held on Saturday, thereby handing Zanu PF a clear majority and reducing the opposition to a sitting duck in parliament.
“In any case, it is forces outside parliament that are reducing the number of CCC MPs. Within parliament, it is key there should be sufficient numbers for a proper parliamentary opposition. One has a responsibility also to the parliamentary system,” added Chan.
Vivid Gwede, another political analyst, said there were pros and cons to Mahere’s decision to leave her seat.
“Mahere’s resignation, like any other position MPs would take, has its own justification and downsides. She was elected on a party ticket, which party, however, is now controlled by people whose agenda she probably does not agree with.
“Whether she would effectively have continued representing her constituency in that scenario was unclear. If she felt that her continued presence would legitimise what she is protesting by her resignation, she probably saw no point in waiting further against her conscience. It is unclear that those remaining are not betraying the electorate,” he said.