OPPOSITION MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora and his party are struggling to shake off the Zanu PF tag that is stalking them since the ouster of Nelson Chamisa as the party’s president.
Since the Supreme Court stripped Chamisa of the MDC presidency and conferred it on Thokozani Khupe on an interim basis before Mwonzora was elected substantive leader in December last year, the party leadership has been accused of being on the Zanu PF-led government’s payroll.
MDC spokesperson, Witness Dube, told the Daily News yesterday that the party’s members were so miffed by the tag that the matter was raised during a national council meeting recently which resolved to come up with a media strategy to set the record straight.
“The matter was raised in the national council which resolved that a media strategy be developed to debunk that myth. We are not an appendage of any other political party. We are our own selves. The reason behind the myth is that we have taken a position that when we speak about issues of concern, such as the abuse of human rights in the country, we will not use megaphone politics.
“While we raise those issues, we may not use the tone that others want to prescribe. We resolved that we take the issues to a higher level, which explains our call for national dialogue where we hope those issues will be raised,” Dube said.
Last month, Mnangagwa assured MDC-T leader, Douglas Mwonzora of his own willingness to work closely with the opposition party after the latter had told the media earlier that he was ready to work with the ruling party.
In a congratulatory message to Mwonzora, Mnangagwa also appealed to “those still stuck to yesterday’s politics of destructive and obstruction to learn from this salutary gesture by the MDC-T.”
Mwonzora, a former party secretary-general, was elected MDC-T president at the party’s chaotic extraordinary congress held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) last year.
He defeated then acting interim president Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Morgen Komichi.
Mwonzora has since appointed Khupe and Mudzuri as co-vice presidents.
Posting on his official Twitter handle, Mnangagwa said he had noted Mwonzora’s wish to reconstruct Zimbabwe’s political landscape by being constructive and less confrontational against the ruling Zanu PF government.
“A few days ago, the opposition MDC-T party held its elective congress, in full compliance with, and fulfilment of court judgments. Let me take this opportunity to formally and personally congratulate Mwonzora for prevailing at that congress,” he said back then.
“We took particular note of his declared wish to guide and reshape the politics of opposition towards constructive engagement with the government of the day.
“This is a very welcome move for our nation which is likely to put politics of rancour behind us thus triggering collaboration, development and the harmony we solely needed for national progress.
“Both as the ruling Zanu PF party, and as the government, we assure Senator Mwonzora and the MDC-T leadership of collaboration towards the growth of prosperity of our nation.”
However, Mnangagwa’s comments also seemed to be directed at MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa who has declined to recognise his win in the 2018 presidential election.
The president said it was time to forgo “yesterday’s politics of destruction.”
“We appeal to all those still stuck to yesterday’s politics of destruction and obstruction to learn from this salutary gesture by the MDC-T. To be in opposition need not mean being unduly negative, confrontational, divisive and disloyal to one’s nation and people.”