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MDC Alliance nomination process exposes party's lack of democracy

17 Apr 2019 at 07:02hrs | Views
THE forthcoming opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance congress set for 24-26 May is fast turning into a farce following the withdrawal of secretary general Mr Douglas Mwonzora from the presidential election race citing a plethora of irregularities.

In a scathing attack on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions which is superintending over provincial congresses and his party, Mr Mwonzora on Monday said the playing field was tilted in favour of his rival, Mr Nelson Chamisa. He raised a number of irregularities which he said were rampant and had not been addressed by the ZCTU despite being brought to their attention.  

Among them are the disenfranchising of seven districts in Manicaland from the nomination process, the fact that the ZCTU was not in charge of the process but in essence, the congress was being run by the organising department led by Mr Amos Chibaya who is also a candidate.  

Mr Mwonzora is also not happy with the fact that provincial congresses were being held at night under unsafe circumstances while another thorny issue was the violence perpetrated against those perceived to be against Mr Chamisa.

He also raised allegations of Electoral College tampering to suit certain candidates. There were also complaints raised by delegates that venues of provincial congresses would suddenly change while people who did not qualify to vote were allowed to do so.  

In an interview on Monday, Mr Mwonzora said he had raised an array of irregularities that he said were rampant in the ongoing provincial congresses but the ZCTU, which was superintending over the polls, had failed to address them. This, he said, had seen him withdrawing from the race.  

"I am no longer able to continue participating in the current congress. I have raised my concerns to the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, ZCTU, led by Mr Japhet Moyo but nothing was done. I therefore, had to withdraw because I do not wish to see the party divided," said Mr Mwonzora.  

"I cannot continue participating in the congress under the present circumstances if the concerns I have raised remained unresolved."

Asked why he announced that he would contest the post of the secretary general, Mr Mwonzora said the statement was based on his desire to respect those who had nominated him to that post. Pressed to divulge the concerns he had raised, Mr Mwonzora referred questions to Mr Moyo of the ZCTU.  

"There are internal but there are a number of concerns that I raised but were not addressed," he said.  When contacted for comment, Mr Moyo confirmed receiving the letter from Mr Mwonzora but said the committee had not yet sat to deliberate on them. "We received several concerns. I am not comfortable to comment on an issue that we have not yet deliberated."  

The withdrawal of Mr Mwonzora leaves Mr Chamisa with a clear pathway to election as the substantive president of the MDC at the congress where some of his most loyal lieutenants are also likely to land crucial positions. These include MDC deputy treasurer general and former student leader Mr Charlton Hwende who has been nominated for the post of secretary general where he will square off against Mr Mwonzora and another former student leader Mr Daniel Molokele.  

Current organising secretary and Chamisa loyalist Mr Chibaya is also likely to retain his post while Mr Tendai Biti has been nominated for one of the vice presidential posts. Vice president Engineer Elias Mudzuri, who has expressed a desire to challenge for the presidency, might find himself in the political scrapyard as no province has nominated him for any post so far.  It is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Chamisa and his coterie of loyalists are using the forthcoming congress as a platform to consolidate power while purging those perceived to be a threat to his grip on power.

Against the basic tenets of democracy and in a show of intimidation, Mr Chamisa and his cabal have been traversing the length and breadth of the country and making nocturnal midnight visits to voting centres.

It is now apparent that the notion of democracy is a fallacy in that party as delegates have been railroaded into voting in a particular manner.

This "guided democracy" will see Mr Chamisa surrounding himself with a bunch of sycophants at congress, most of whom will be his comrades from his student politics days.  While the MDC prides itself as being the party of excellence with impeccable democratic credentials, the current nomination process has exposed it as a violent organisation where thugs hold sway.

The outcome of the nomination process has been tainted by allegations raised by Mr Mwonzora and other candidates not aligned to Mr Chamisa and we wonder if the congress will reflect the true aspirations of the MDC rank and file.  

It is also ironic that the MDC is fond of accusing the ruling Zanu-PF party of  using the same tactics against it yet it is comfortable employing them.

Source - chronicle
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