The Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T says its candidates will contest future elections under the MDC Alliance banner with its national spokesman Witness Dube telling Nehanda Radio they are the “leading party in the MDC-Alliance electoral pact, which is still very much in its tenure.”
On Tuesday the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced a resumption of electoral activities following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions by government but by-elections remain suspended in what appears an attempt to protect the smaller opposition MDC-T party.
The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa wants by-elections to regain seats lost to parliamentary recalls engineered by the MDC-T who are getting heavyweight support from the Zanu PF Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda. This is despite MDC-T candidates losing to MDC Alliance candidates in 2018.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Dube said “the MDC-T is preparing for the by-elections to regain seats that it had won through the MDC Alliance electoral pact. The actual candidate selection will follow due party procedures in a free, fair, democratic and legitimate internal process.
“It must be borne in mind that on our part, we will be fielding candidates in the constituencies which belonged to us according to the Alliance agreement. It is also common knowledge that the MDC-T is the leading party in the MDC-Alliance electoral pact, which is still very much in its tenure,” he said.
Political activist Pride Mkono who campaigned for Chamisa in the 2018 elections said the main opposition leader will be forced to rebrand his party.
“I think it is apparent that the MDC Alliance has already been obtained at least for now by Douglas Mwonzora and his team which leaves Chamisa in a precarious position should the by-elections be called because it means he has to form a new party.
“I don’t see Mwonzora and company allowing him to make use of the name MDC Alliance. It’s almost now sealed as fate that they need to form a new party,” he said.
In an interview with this publication, MDC Alliance deputy national spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said his party was ready for by-elections. He added however, that electoral reforms were needed.
“Zanu PF uses force and abuse of state institutions. That’s why it lost the 2018 elections and only tried to force themselves by illegally recalling democratically elected people’s representatives in councils and parliament.
“MDC Alliance has presented minimum conditions for the holding of credible elections in Zimbabwe in our document called PRICE- Principles for Credible Elections.
“There is a need for serious electoral, political and economic reforms in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF does not like that because it enjoys the suffering of the ordinary people.
“MDC Alliance is ready for any election at any time as long as the process is fair, free, peaceful and the security of the voters and vote is guaranteed. Zanu PF knows that it is an illegitimate regime occupying the positions of authority. Hence it employs diabolic means to stay in power that’s why it is arbitrarily arresting and illegally detaining any voice of reason. It is at war with almost everyone in Zimbabwe, the region and international community.
“The illegal recalls have impacted negatively on service delivery in local authorities and cripple the parliamentary oversight role. That’s what they wanted to happen,” he said.
Asked if Parliament has been paralyzed after the recall of many MPs who won the 2018 election under the MDC Alliance ticket, Dube said the national constitution allowed MDC-T to recall members for failing to comply with the Alliance agreement.
“The question of parliamentary paralysis does not arise because our parliamentary democracy provides for the recall of errant members of a political party. Recalls derive from our national constitution which was overwhelmingly endorsed by Zimbabweans in 2013, and have been used with success in terms of bringing order and sanity in the MDC-T.
“In 2014, not less than 20 members were recalled for breaking ranks with the party, and the result was a strong formation which made a very good showing under the MDC Alliance electoral pact.
“It is unfortunate that some of the Members of Parliament who were recalled in 2014 for not following the constitution in expressing their political differences, were recycled in the party resulting in their leading of another subversion, this time of the Alliance agreement. It is this intransigence which has resulted in an unfortunate repeat of history,” he said.
– Nehanda Radio