BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has threatened to boycott the 2023 election unless President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government implements electoral reforms.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Mwonzora said Mnangagwa last month responded to his plea for dialogue, describing it as a positive development for his push for electoral reforms before the 2023 elections.
Mwonzora indicated that he was confident that his dialogue with Mnangagwa would be fruitful, adding that his party would not participate in the 2023 elections without electoral reforms.
“MDC-T remains committed to dialogue. We are going to push for electoral reforms and we are going to get them,” he said.
“Our mentality is focused on getting these reforms. We know how to get them through dialogue and this dialogue will be inclusive, genuine and unconditional.
“Therefore, with regards to what will happen if certain things do not happen in 2023, we are not able to postulate. We can’t tell which reforms we would be able to get and those we would not have attained.”
Mwonzora’s threats come a week after his national chairman Morgen Komichi called for the suspension of both by-elections and the 2023 harmonised polls to negotiate with Mnangagwa for an inclusive government.
In July this year, Mwonzora met Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga under controversial circumstances to allegedly push for the suspension of by-elections as well as postponement of the 2023 polls.
Komichi on Sunday said dialogue with Mnangagwa was key to determining the party’s participation in the 2023 elections, arguing that holding elections without reforms was a waste of time.
Ironically, Mwonzora’s legislators are the majority of opposition representatives in Parliament after purging the MDC Alliance members, but his MPs have assisted Mnangagwa make controversial constitutional amendments to assist the ruling Zanu PF party clamp down on the country’s democratic space.
“We want reforms and then elections. Unlike our colleagues in the opposition who are calling for an election whether or not there are reforms,” Mwonzora said.
“That government has not allowed reforms over some years is not a good enough reason to explain why we should not insist on them. We shall not give up until there are reforms which guarantee secrecy of the vote and security of both the vote and the voter.”
Yesterday, he refused to disclose details of Mnangagwa’s responses to his request for dialogue, saying it was a private matter.
“We will make the substantive matters available at the right time. Right now, we are consulting within the MDC-T structures then thereafter we will consult the people of Zimbabwe, based on what our structures would have said.”
The MDC-T has been under criticism for having a sinister agenda in the postponement of elections.
Observers say they are not prepared for a direct contest with the mainstream opposition MDC Alliance party led by Nelson Chamisa.
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