The MDC will meet on Wednesday to plot the way forward after its leader's election petition challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa's election victory was thrown out by the Constititional Court (ConCourt) last Friday, a senior official has revealed.
Douglas Mwonzora (DM), the MDC secretary-general, told our senior reporter Obey Manayiti (OM) in an interview soon after the court ruling that while they accepted the apex court's decision, they were still convinced that MD Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa won the election.
He also dismissed allegations that he is gunning for Chamisa's position after the electoral setback. Below are excerpts from the interview.
DM: Well, as a party we respect the decision of the highest court in the land and whether we agree or disagree with that decision is another matter.
We respectfully disagree with the reasoning of the court because we were relying on the figures that Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) did give us and the nation.
That alone should have vitiated the election. However, the fact that the judges have pronounced their verdict does not dispose of the endemic Zimbabwean problem.
Our society remains divided by half and we need to find solutions to our problems and, therefore, the MDC is going to convene a special national council meeting on Wednesday to chart the way forward.
At the meeting a number of options are going to be explored. I want to say that whatever we are going to do as the MDC we will act within the law.
If it means demonstrating, there will be demonstrations in terms of section 59 of the constitution.
We will act within the law and respect the rights of the Zimbabwean people and the rights of those people who have been declared the winners as well.
OM: Do you have a definite plan from here?
DM: Right now, it is too early because the national council is going to meet on Wednesday and the things that we have are suggestions that we can take to the national council.
Until the national council has met, I may not say exactly what we are going to do, but definitely we are part of the solution to the Zimbabwean problem.
OM: How are you going to do that when you are outside government?
DM: We are quite well-represented in Parliament, we are the major political player apart from Zanu PF and there is no question about it.
Let's face it that President Mnangagwa won two million- plus votes and president Chamisa won two million-plus votes and we are talking about people who are almost 50-50 in terms of approval.
The onus is on President Mnangagwa to see how he can take this nation forward, but it is not proper to ignore the fact the MDC is a significant political player in this country.
OM: Are you suggesting that you have to work together, like forming a government of national unity (GNU)?
DM: I am not suggesting a GNU, working together doesn't mean you are in a government together, but working together means that your views have to be respected, two million plus people who voted for the MDC Alliance is no joke and that must be respected in decision-making.
OM: Do you see the party being wrecked by infighting ahead of a congress expected next year and what are the chances of the party surviving this?
DM: It's not true that we will disintegrate at all. The fact that we have to go to congress at some time is within the statutes of the MDC and we have been doing this for the past 19 years.
A party cannot split because we are going to congress. We will continue to select our leaders using democratic means, so we will be going to congress in a year or so.
Those who want to stand for office will do so. People will make their choices and the party will not disintegrate at all.
OM: Your name has been thrown around as one of the possible presidential candidates in future and a possible fight between you and Chamisa. What is your comment on that?
DM: First, I don't think president Chamisa and myself have been pulling in different directions.
I think we have been complementing each other and during the campaigns I was actively campaigning for him as our presidential candidate.
As results were being collected I was active. President Chamisa and myself are not fighting for anything.
The second thing is that there is no vacancy yet and he is the president of the party.
I am the secretary-general of that party and we work quite well together.
Whether we are going to contest each other in the future or not I, don't know because the situation has not arisen.
I have seen a few mischievous people trying to throw my name as trying to challenge president Chamisa, but that is simply their speculation.
This is the work of the detractors of the party who want us to fight.
They want the president to view me as somebody who is trying to undermine him, but I am a disciplined leader and I have served under president Morgan Tsvangirai (it was a pleasure to do so and it was a good experience).
I have served under president Chamisa and there is no insubordination on my part.
I have read a few statements by the (war veterans secretary-general Victor) Matemadandas of this world and they don't speak for me, they don't speak for the MDC.
I remain a committed cadre of the party and I will play my part.
OM: What will happen to the MDC Alliance now that the elections are over?
DM: This was an arrangement for a specific purpose and the specific purpose was to win this election.
After the conclusion of this electoral process which is today (Friday), the alliance principals are going to meet and chart the way forward.
After all, we do have certain candidates who do not belong to the MDC who were elected under the alliance banner.
They remain MPs for the alliance, but regarding the future of the alliance the leadership is going to meet.