MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora said on Wednesday key political reforms in the country will only come through dialogue not confrontation as these have to pass through Parliament, where the ruling Zanu PF has a huge majority.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre, Mwonzora said political parties should come to the negotiating table to discuss ways to move the country forward.
“Our position as a party is that we cannot avoid dialogue in order to achieve key reforms. The reality we have to live with is that Zanu PF enjoys a super majority in Parliament, and they have been the majority since 2013,” he said.
“If we are to go via dialogue, it means that we agree and what we would have agreed will then be processed through Parliament. If we are to amend the Electoral Act for example, we need to agree and cooperate with legislators from across the political spectrum.”
After winning the 2018 Presidential elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa established the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), a platform which brings together all the candidates who contested him in the polls.
The platform was set up primarily to collectively discuss ways of prospering the country, and to indicate the oneness that exists among Zimbabweans despite different political parties.
The MDC Alliance (now the Citizens Coalition for Change) refused to join the platform from the beginning arguing that it could not be grouped together with fringe political parties which did not have any following and insisted that President Mnangagwa should engage its leader Nelson Chamisa individually.
After he was elected MDC-T president at the party`s congress in 2020, Mwonzora joined POLAD and also became leader of the opposition in Parliament.
Mwonzora said it was unfortunate that a whipping system was used in Parliament and legislators do not dare to go against the positions of the parties.
“But where a party has agreed as an institution, it is easy to have reforms. So, reforms in this country are going to come via one route of dialogue,” he said.
He cited the Lancaster House agreement which brought about the majority rule in the country, saying it was a key political reform.
“This is what happened throughout the history of the country. In 1979, the issue of majority rule was a key political reform, and it came via dialogue. The disturbances in Matabeleland after independence were stopped via dialogue which led to the signing of the Unity Accord between the warring parties. People can argue about the content of the Unity Accord itself whether one party won more than the other, that is besides the point at this point and time. The fact of the matter is that the Accord came via dialogue.”
Mwonzora also cited the 2008 Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) brokered talks following a disputed election, which culminated in the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2009 between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
— New Ziana