Douglas Mwonzora

We’ll participate in by-elections: Mwonzora

THE MDC led by Douglas Mwonzora, pictured, has agreed to participate in the upcoming by-elections despite earlier refusing to take part demanding the government implements electoral reforms first.   

This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said the country will hold the long-awaited by-elections to replace 113 MPs and councillors who were either recalled or died since the July 2018 harmonised elections in March next year.

According to the party’s national council resolutions, the Mwonzora-led main opposition party is geared to participate in the by-elections. 

“The party reiterated its desire to take over governmental power through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means, govern differently and change the lives of the Zimbabwean people for the better,” the party said. 

“To that end, the party resolved to participate fully in all electoral activities in the country, including by-elections. However, these electoral processes should be preceded by meaningful electoral reforms. In line with the new political approach, the party will, henceforth, attend and participate fully in all events.” 

Mwonzora yesterday confirmed the development, but declined to divulge more information on how the party reached the decision. 

“Yes, we are going to participate in the by-elections. We know there are some who do not want to, that’s all I can say for now,” Mwonzora said. 

Recently, opposition parties, including Mwonzora’s party, said they would snub the by-elections unless and until there were electoral reforms ahead of the polls. 

Speaking before the start of the ruling party’s politburo meeting in Harare recently, Mnangagwa tore into the opposition for their continued call for reforms and threats to boycott the by-elections. 

“This misplaced narrative that we need reforms — electoral reforms, economic reforms — is misplaced, no one has said what type of electoral reforms which are required,” he said.  

“In the Sadc region, we have embraced all the Sadc electoral guidelines into our Constitution. We have now gone 80 places in the index of doing business in terms of economic reforms, but you still have people just shouting electoral reforms. 

“They never spell out what type of electoral reforms they are talking about. We have one of the most democratic constitutions in the region.” 

Mnangagwa said the authorities were ready to conduct the by-elections 

“There are those, who are accusing us for not holding by-elections, we had to choose between exposing our people to Covid-19,” he said.  

“We are not in the same category as other countries which have no sanctions, we had to choose between exposing our people to Covid-19 and suspending by-elections and in the region, we are one of the countries that has done well against the impact of Covid-19. 

“Now with the lockdown at Level 2, we have now opened, we are going to have our elections in March, I will be making my proclamation very soon.” 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is set to fork out $3,7 billion to fund the impending by-elections after receiving $11,6 billion from Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in the 2022 National Budget.