Mwonzora’s MDC-T Pushes For Indefinite Postponement Of By-elections

The Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T party has started pushing Parliament to ensure that pending by-elections are suspended indefinitely, claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to hold free and fair elections.

It has emerged that MDC-T leaders introduced the proposal to delay the elections in Parliament’s peace and security thematic committee last week following a presentation by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

MDC-T chairperson Morgen Komichi confirmed to The Standard the Parliament process and defended the move, saying the coronavirus has made the playing field uneven and prevailing conditions are advantageous to the ruling ZANU PF party. Said Komichi:

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It’s not about elections, it’s about the pandemic and whether we will be able to have free and fair elections.

What is happening at the moment is, no other political party is allowed to do political programmes except ZANU PF.

Every day, we see ZANU PF addressing its provincial meetings and it will be foolhardy for political parties to clamour for elections during this pandemic.

That is an argument based on what ZEC is doing now that points to free and fair and democratic processes.

Last month, Mwonzora met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga under controversial circumstances to push for the postponement of the polls.

When The Standard exposed the plan, he flatly denied that he was pushing for the elections to be scrapped.

Mwonzora has in the past year been manoeuvring to be the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, claiming that he is pushing for “rational disputation”.

MDC-T is said to be wary of elections because it might lose its newfound power in a direct contest with the mainstream opposition party MDC Alliance and the ruling ZANU PF.

But Komichi said it is unwise for opposition political parties to push for elections when there are no electoral reforms to level the playing field. He said:

You can’t call for opening up for campaigning now because if you start the campaign, you will plunge Zimbabwe into what happened in India that went into elections and experienced over 200 000 new cases every day for more than a month.

Many countries, I think over 80 of them, have put elections on hold to deal with the pandemic.

It is a debate Zimbabweans must start talking about now, especially the opposition political parties because you will call for elections without necessary reforms then start calling the process unfair.

MDC Alliance secretary for elections Ian Makone said the push by the MDC-T to stop elections was motivated by a sinister agenda.

More: The Standard

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Mwonzora’s MDC-T Pushes For Indefinite Postponement Of By-elections