In a dramatic turn of events, MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora finds himself embroiled in a fierce clash with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over his attempt to withdraw from the upcoming presidential race. The elections body insists that Mwonzora’s withdrawal notice was submitted outside the designated 21-day notice period, setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown.
Mwonzora made the sh0cking announcement on Tuesday, declaring his party’s boycott of the August 23 election. However, ZEC promptly refuted his claims, asserting that the withdrawal notice missed the crucial deadline.
Unyielding in his stance, Mwonzora hit back at ZEC, revealing that his withdrawal had been communicated to the elections body as early as August 2. Defending his position, Mwonzora stated, “They can’t force me. I have withdrawn from the race. Since when has ZEC respected timelines? In recognizing the period (for withdrawal), you don’t include the first day. The point is that my decision has been made. What ZEC says is of no consequence. We are out of the race.”
While Mwonzora stopped short of confirming whether he would resort to legal action to ensure his name is removed from the ballot paper, the opposition leader remains resolute in his decision to withdraw from the contest.
During a press conference in Harare on Tuesday, Mwonzora denounced the upcoming election as a “sham and a farce.” He highlighted ZEC’s refusal to accept nomination papers for 87 of his party’s candidates for the National Assembly, emphasizing that even if he were to emerge as the winner of the presidential race, he would lack control over parliament.
“We are not going to be part of the baptism, blessing of this sham. This election is a farce,” Mwonzora passionately stated.
“We have seen massive disenfranchisement, mass disqualification of a good number of people. There is no doubt why the MDC is being treated in a different manner from other political parties; it is because the MDC took ZEC to court over delimitation.”
Mwonzora further alleged that the delimitation process, which his party had previously challenged in court, was now being enforced, and its impact on the election was becoming evident. He accused ZEC of surreptitiously altering ward and constituency boundaries, as well as adding over a thousand additional polling stations.
As the clash between Mwonzora and ZEC intensifies, political tensions in Zimbabwe are reaching a boiling point. The nation anxiously awaits further developments, eager to witness how this contentious battle for the presidency will ultimately unfold.