MDC Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora who is vying to retain the post in the opposition’s elective congress next week, says his hands are clean and had no part to play in fielding double candidates during the 2018 elections.
The troubled lawyer is battling to survive after he had to downgrade from going for the presidency to the less lucrative secretary-general post.
Because of that, Mwonzora has become a less favourite of the party as he has been accused of siding with the ruling party.
During yesterday’s National Elections Debate Campaign in Bulawayo, Mwonzora stood accused of being at the centre of allowing the party to field two candidates during the 2018 elections.
The leading opposition party fielded several double candidates In various constituencies and wards, a move which backfired as the ruling party, Zanu-PF, pounced on that shambolic arrangement to win most of the parliamentary seats.
However, Mwonzora pushed the blamed on the then National Chairperson, Tabitha Khumalo, saying he had no knowledge of the goings-on as his office was not mandated to carry out the duty.
“Elections are led by the Election Directorate and that is led by the National Chairman, not Secretary General. The National Chairman develops elections rules and if there are grievances, they are addressed to that office.
“On the same electoral directorate, the SG is a mere secretary. So the smooth flow of elections is not a mandate for the SG but the national Chairman,” Mwonzora said.
He said there was corruption as senior party officials handpicked their favourites which saw the emergence of double candidates in one constituency or wards.
“There was corruption because according to the election directorate, candidates are chosen in primary elections and whoever wins the primaries, will represent the party.
“However, what we witnessed was appalling because we would see two candidates. I honestly don’t know how that came to be because that was not my mandate,” he said, much to the chagrin of party supporters.
Turning to the much-hyped Cowdry Park election, Mwonzora said he had nothing to do with the shenanigans which saw two candidates being fielded.
He apologised to the supporters for letting the party lose when it should have won.
“We apologise for losing that post but we were fighting between ourselves. The national Council gave a mandate for two candidates to register at the nomination court. But after that, the NC said there should a main election before the main election.
“I was not supposed to conduct these primary elections because there is someone mandated to do that,” Mwonzora noted.
He blamed poor mobilisation of voters as the MDC lost resoundingly to a Zanu-PF candidate.
“I’m very very sorry that it happened like that but there are people who slept on their jobs. That should not happen,” he said.
Mwonzora further stated that his powers as the SG were stripped during the 2014 elective congress and lobbied that the new SG be given more power to run elections.
“In 2014, we stripped the powers of the SG and we gave the power to other offices, so the election issue is not in the office of the SG.
“I now call upon us all to ensure that when we go to the elective congress, we restore the powers of the SG so that he can make more decisions,” Mwonzora said.
The MDC heads into the elective congress with so much discord with questions being raised over the party’s president, Nelson Chamisa’ legality to the throne.