MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora, fearing an electoral drubbing, is lobbying President Emmerson Mnangagwa to scrap by-elections, reports said Sunday.
Mwonzora met Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga on June 11 where he presented a document which his party has not publicly disclosed.
The Standard reported on Sunday that Mwonzora secretly lobbied Mnangagwa to join him in a self-preservation project to keep up his pretences of being the leader of the opposition.
“While Zimbabweans are talking and finding each other in this serious manner, it seems unnecessary to introduce something divisive as by-elections,” Mwonzora allegedly wrote in a four-page document.
“It is, therefore, suggested that while discussions are going on regarding aforementioned issues, by-elections be suspended. In order to avoid prejudice to the electorate, it is suggested that an arrangement be made for parties to make replacements of vacancies in their areas of control as guided by law.”
Mnangagwa reportedly promised to respond in writing to Mwonzora’s proposals, which will face fierce resistance from the main MDC Alliance.
MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti labelled Mwonzora a “brigand in a suit”, adding: “He has no shame, he has no limits, he has no elasticity, no morality and no decency.”
Zimbabwe has over two dozen vacant parliamentary seats and tens of local authority vacancies, many of the openings created after the MDC-T recalled MDC Alliance Senators, MPs and councillors.
This followed a controversial judgement of the Supreme Court which said Nelson Chamisa was improperly elevated to interim leader of the party in February 2018, while decreeing that an extraordinary congress be held to choose new leaders.
Chamisa maintained that his party contested the 2018 election as MDC Alliance, not MDC-T – but that has not stopped Mwonzora and his party from claiming MDC Alliance elected representatives. Those who have defied Mwonzora have been recalled.
If Zanu PF accedes to Mwonzora’s request, and the two parties use their parliamentary numbers to push through amendments to the electoral laws, this would allow Mwonzora to intensify the recalls knowing he has full reign on replacements.
The MDC Alliance says Mwonzora is a Zanu PF puppet working with the ruling party to destroy the opposition, charges which Mwonzora denies.
No dates have been set for by-elections which were suspended by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission citing the Covid-19 public health emergency. Whenever they are held, the parties will use the elections as a barometer of their public support ahead of elections in 2023.