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Mwonzora begs Mnangagwa to stop by-elections

by Staff reporter
21 Jun 2021 at 05:00hrs | Views
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has reportedly begged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to consider scrapping holding parliamentary and local council by-elections.

According to weekend media reports, Mwonzora and Mnangagwa met a few days ago at State House.

Also present at the meeting was Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

Mwonzora told the media the meeting was a courtesy call on Mnangagwa and he went there in his personal capacity as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.

However, according to reports, the opposition leader presented a paper in which the MDC-T is seeking the postponement of by-elections where scores of former MDC Alliance and councillors were recall by Mwonzora on allegations there were no longer MDC-T members.

Other seats became vacant due to deaths.

Mwonzora is reported to have handed Mnangagwa a four-page document seeking the suspension of by-elections, which if done, would give him an edge over Nelson Chamisa's MDC Alliance in the fight for recognition as the main opposition party in Zimbabwe.

He justified the proposal claiming it would give Zimbabweans time to "find each other".

"While Zimbabweans are talking and finding each other in this serious manner it seems unnecessary to introduce something divisive as by-elections," he said in the statement.

"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."

In his submissions, Mwonzora proposed a new political dialogue platform between MDC-T and Zanu-PF to be known as the Parliamentary Dialogue Forum (PDF).

The PDF would consist five Zanu-PF MP, five MDC-T MPs, and two chiefs including a secretariat where the two parties would second officials on a full salary.

"The two political parties to select two salaried and specific coordinators each, who sit in the PDF," reads the document.

Mwonzora assured Mnangagwa that there would be no further talk of the 2018 general elections as that was water under the bridge as concluded by the Constitutional Court.

"The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe made a definitive judgement, which in the party's view settled the legitimacy question. To the MDC-T party the legitimacy is a settled issue," he wrote.

The MDC-T leader also proposed timelines in which negotiations should have been completed.

"The parliamentary dialogue forum shall be set up by June 30, the thematic committee shall be set up by July 15 while considerations of the PDF report by principals be by October," the document added.

"Under the new approach in all political, economic and social strategies, what is paramount are the best national interests of the Zimbabwean people.

Zanu-PF factions, however, are reportedly unhappy with Mwonzora's proposal to suspend by-elections as they feel the party is well placed to win the polls, believing that Chamisa's MDC Alliance is at its weakest.

The MDC Alliance is pushing for by-elections in order to prove that it is the party that enjoys grassroots support.

However, Mwonzora's spokesperson Lloyd Damba insisted at the weekend the MDC-T leader was acting in the best interests of all Zimbabweans in his negotiations with Mnangagwa.

"I do not know the source of your document, so for you to say that this person or that person is a liar is neither here nor there," Damba said.

"All I am saying is that the document you were given has clearly sent you far away from the scent and the prey. What we are doing is in the best interest of all Zimbabweans, so the misleading you allege falls off. We cannot give you the document now because it will be tantamount to negotiating in public."

Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba said he could not comment on a private meeting.

"The interaction between President Emmerson Mnangagwa (and Mwonzora) was done behind closed doors," Charamba said.

"Whatever documents transacted, and commitments made in the meeting are between the two parties.

"I can't stand in as the president's spokesperson to comment on a document, which I am not aware of its authenticity."

Zanu-PF and Mnangagwa have vowed that they will not hold any talks outside the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), which Mwonzora is hesitant to join, saying he does not qualify.

"POLAD is limited in scope, it was defined as a platform where those who contested for presidency can have dialogue, which excludes me," Mwonzora said.

"Therefore, as a lawyer I would not want to sit in a platform where my contribution does not carry legal weight."

Mwonzora's predecessor Thokozani Khupe represented MDC-T in POLAD before her ouster last December.

Source - newzimbabwe