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Mwonzora Says MDC-T Violated Constitution By Electing Chamisa, Says He Was Blocked From Speaking

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has said that his party violated its own constitution by electing Nelson Chamisa as the acting president of the party, a day after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai. Mwonzora also claimed that he was barred from raising any objections at the National Council meeting which elected Chamisa. As a result, he left the meeting. According to Mwonzora, the opposition party must hold an elective Congress to choose its presidential candidate.

In an interview with the Standard, Mwonzora said:

We noticed there was a rush by some leaders to convene meetings of the organs of the party even before the death of the president. But when the president finally succumbed, there arose another problem on whether we should proceed with the national council meeting or suspend all party business.

I did the initial discussion with our leaders; we agreed we were calling off any party business to allow for a dignified send-off of our leader.

But meetings were convened purporting to be meetings of the national council which is the highest decision-making body and decisions were made.

It is important to note that when the president died, we called off the national council meeting and I personally did that because as the secretary-general, I am responsible for convening that.

But some leaders decided to disobey that and during the time of the national council meeting, a question arose as to whether we should appoint someone as acting president.

I had two fundamental problems to that as the administrator of the party. The first one was that other interested people were not there, not because of choice, they were involved in funeral arrangements of the former prime minister.

It was only fair that everybody be there when such an important question is resolved.

Secondly, the issue of whether the constitution allowed it. I knew the constitution did not allow the election of a leader by the national council, a leader who is elected outside congress; it can’t be done by the national council.

Unfortunately for me, when we wanted to raise those issues, I was not allowed to speak and as a result, I left.

… The meeting was chaired by the deputy national chairman, Morgen Komichi, so I was unable to speak, I was not allowed to speak and I left.

Some have interpreted that an acting president in an election can act beyond the election date, that is wrong because when the MDC chooses its election candidate, it actually holds a congress and that primary election is called a congress.

At Congress, while electing the president, you are electing two people: the head of the party and the presidential candidate for the next election.

It is a democratic process, and that process of Congress involves voting by over 5 000 people. What happened in the national council meeting was simply a declaration of one person as the acting president, but the national council did not elect the presidential candidate.

So the question remains on who the presidential candidate is and therefore we must hold an extraordinary congress where people would come.

The Congress would be made up of up to 5 000 people, the national executive has less than 170 people, in fact, it has 155 people.
That means, if we are to say the national council elects the president and the presidential candidate, we are disenfranchising over 4 800 members of the MDC who want to vote.

More: Read The Full Interview In The Standard

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