15 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Mwonzora's Withdrawal From Contest Was in Protest Over Irregularities

Would be opposition MDC presidential candidate and party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora's decision to pull out of the race was in protest, it has emerged.

The Manicaland Senator, told newzimbabwe.com in an interview Monday, that he had raised a red flag on a lot of irregularities in the nomination process but the party's "independent electoral commission" managed by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) had turned a blind eye to his protests.

"Under the current process I am no longer interested in the presidential race because certain concerns that I raised internally with the independent commission have not been redressed.

"These were confidential internal matters but if we fail to address them, they have the effect of dividing the party and I don't want to be part of that division. It is for that reason that I am no longer interested in the presidential race," said Mwonzora without elaborating.

Mwonzora reportedly also wrote a letter of protest to ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo who chairs the MDC's electoral commission, highlighting the irregularities but these had not been addressed.

But denied Moyo said he was not part of the process.

"I don't know what you are talking about. Show me the letter of appointment to the electoral commission," Moyo retorted.

MDC secretary general Mwonzora added however, that he was likely to contest for the position of secretary general again "out of respect" for those who nominated him.

"Some innocent people have nominated me to a position that under the current process I may contest but the issues that I raised to the independent electoral commission in my view touch on the integrity of our process and the integrity of our party," Mwonzora said.

The MDC's congress run-in has been marred by reports of numerous irregularities including coercion, intimidation, violence and vote buying in some cases. Bloody clashes between rival groups have been reported in many parts of the country.

Party leader Chamisa has been accused of "personally running" provincial congresses and "making sure he is nominated without fail."

"This is a charade and a slap in the face of democracy. This is midnight democracy, that flies in the face of the founding values of the MDC. It would be a travesty of justice for anyone to participate in such a sham.

"We have accused Zanu PF of rigging elections for years now but even them would green with envy at how we have perfected the art in our own internal processes," an insider close to the processes told newzimbabwe.com.

The upcoming congress set for next month is the first since the death of founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Valentine's Day last year.

Mwonzora who has been under siege after expressing desire to challenge Chamisa, at the party's congress to be held in Gweru. The constitutional lawyer said his decision was also meant to avoid a split in the party.

"Any participation under those circumstances would have divided the party and I did not want to be part of a process that would lead to a split," the former Nyanga North lawmaker said.

The MDC's Matabeleland South province has nominated Mwonzora for the position of secretary general. At the weekend the Manicaland Senator told cheering party supporters that he had thrown in the towel and would now support Chamisa for the position of president.

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