Mwonzora cries foul

EMBATTLED MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora (pictured) wrote to Japhet Moyo, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), who is superintending over the opposition party’s internal elections, alleging serious flaws in the process two days before he threw in the towel after he garnered a single nomination from seven provincial congresses held so far.

At the weekend, Mwonzora pleaded with his home province of Manicaland to back him for the post of secretary-general, but delegates snubbed him, leaving him to weigh his options ahead of a watershed MDC congress to be held next month.

In his Friday letter, which was copied to party leader Nelson Chamisa, Mwonzora alleged that while the ZCTU was supposed to be leading the elective process, the party’s organising secretary, Amos Chibaya, was, in fact, running the show.

He also alleged violence and intimidation against other candidates and that party members were made to vote overnight.
Mwonzora and deputy president Elias Mudzuri were angling to challenge Chamisa, but have not been nominated for the presidency, leaving the youthful leader a shoo-in to retain the position uncontested.

“We wish to raise the following issues that the Matabeleland South congress was conducted at night. In fact, the nomination process for the national standing committee (NSC) members commenced at 2330 hours on April 7, 2019,” the letter read.

“The provincial congress for Matabeleland North province started at 1800 hours on April 8, 2019. Voting took place throughout the night. The nomination of standing committee candidates only commenced at 0500 hours the following morning in the absence of some of the candidates.

“The provincial congress in the Midlands commenced at 1700 hours. It took place throughout the night and the nomination process for the NSC took place at 0930 hours the following morning.

“All nominations have been conducted by the national organising secretary Amos Chibaya, instead of your committee,” read the concerns.

In his letter, Mwonzora alleged that there was a lot of intimidation and hate language by some youths, directed at him and Mudzuri. He also said there was violence against
other candidates.

Mwonzora also claimed that candidates were not availed with the voters roll and attached the party’s constitution and the congress template which gave the guidelines into the
manner in which the congress was supposed to be held.

Moyo, however, said he could not do anything about the allegations.

“He [Mwonzora] has written complaining about elections in their party … I don’t think I have the powers to do anything. I just listen to the

complaints, but I am not empowered to act. At the moment I don’t have those powers,” said Moyo, adding that the ZCTU was not aware of any plan for them to run MDC elections.

Party leader Chamisa attributed Mwonzora’s complaints to bitterness after failing to get nominated.

“To choose is to decide and to decide is to define and when you define, you always have those who are not happy even if they are in the minority. We must even be able to say we need to swim together. There are those who will not get nominations, they will naturally be unhappy and bitter, so our task is to make sure that instead of them getting bitter,
we must make them get better because democracy must not leave you bitter, but better. When the people have chosen we must all celebrate,” he said.

In an interview yesterday, Mwonzora said he was considering contesting for the secretary-general’s position under the current circumstances.

“Internally, I raised my concerns with the independent electoral commission chairperson over certain things that I thought touched on the integrity of the process,” he said.

“Unfortunately, these concerns have not been redressed and the nomination process is actually coming to a close. Under those circumstances, I was unable to continue within the presidential race. I was, however, nominated for the post of secretary-general by Matabeleland South and I suppose these were well-meaning people deserving respect, so it is the position that I am considering under the current process,” he said.

Manicaland, which ditched Mwonzora, nominated Charlton Hwende for the post of secretary-general.

They also handed Chamisa his eighth straight nomination for the presidency.

The province also ditched Tendai Biti for the vice-president post and, instead, gave Welshman Ncube his second nomination for vice-presidency.

MDC Manicaland wants Biti as their treasurer-general. Morgen Komichi appears to be riding the crest, as he secured another nomination, together with Lilian Timveos, for the vice-presidency.

Insiders said Mwonzora, together with Mudzuri, were likely to be pushed out of the party by the end of congress.

“Mudzuri and Mwonzora are going to be finished at congress. There was a deliberate attempt not to sanction them for what the party thought they were doing wrong and said, ‘well, let’s meet at congress’, and that’s what is happening. Dealing with them ahead of congress would have raised issues of stifling democracy,” one source said.

MDC Manicaland spokesperson Trevor Saruwaka downplayed the possible ouster of Mwonzora from the executive.

“Mwonzora’s endorsement of Chamisa is by far the biggest and sweetest news in the ears of party members and the generality of Zimbabwe. The announcement diffused tensions and anxiety among party members. That the two leaders appear in harmony is a big blow to Zanu PF and their propagandists who wanted to put a wedge between the two,” Saruwaka said. – News Day