All Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to Zimbabwe's leading opposition party have been suspended from parliamentary sessions for six sittings, while also facing a two-month suspension of their salaries.
The decision was announced by Speaker Jacob Mudenda in response to protests orchestrated by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) within the parliamentary chambers. The CCC claimed that 15 of its MPs had been duped into losing their parliamentary seats.
The incident transpired when a false representation of the CCC's secretary general submitted a letter to the Speaker, declaring that the 15 MPs were no longer affiliated with the party. Notably, the CCC lacked a secretary general, and the letter contained numerous grammatical errors.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa urged the Speaker to disregard the fraudulent letter; however, Mr. Mudenda, who also represents the ruling Zanu-PF party, declared the 15 seats vacant.
Following this decision, CCC MPs protested by disrupting parliamentary proceedings for nearly two hours, leading to the summoning of riot police to the parliamentary chamber.
The CCC expressed strong condemnation for the actions taken, deeming it a "cowardly act" by Jacob Mudenda, the Zanu-PF speaker of parliament. The party's leadership emphasized that such behavior must cease to prevent potential instability in the country. They also shared images of the scuffles in parliament on their official social media accounts.
This incident is likely to exacerbate the already high political tensions in Zimbabwe, which have been ongoing since the contentious presidential elections held in August. The election saw 45-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa lose to the 81-year-old incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a contest criticized by international observers for falling short of democratic standards.