By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora has admitted the opposition MDC had no sufficient evidence of poll rigging to launch a stronger challenge against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory in the July 2018 elections.
Mwonzora was speaking during a Zoom interview Thursday where he also admitted, inadvertently, the MDC Alliance poll challenge was weak.
The politician said MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s Constitutional Court challenge against his defeat by Mnangagwa was a strategic mistake as it unnecessarily sealed the Zanu PF leader’s legitimacy question, leaving the opposition with nothing to cling on to.
Mnangagwa was declared winner of the poll by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) after scrapping through with a narrow victory.
Close challenger, Chamisa took the matter to the ConCourt which later upheld the poll outcome after the opposition leader failed to produce documentary evidence to support claims he was robbed of victory.
Mwonzora has since joined former MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe under the MDC-T banner which is tussling for control of the main opposition empire in a party leadership feud that spilled into the court.
Zanu PF is seen as sympathetic to MDC-T, which has refrained from any criticism of Mnangagwa’s administration since the courts in March ruled its leaders were legitimate stewards of the main opposition.
Said Mwonzora of Mnangagwa’s controversial poll victory, “It was a political issue. We needed a political solution and getting it to the legal forum was a mistake.”
At the time, and as MDC Alliance secretary general then, Mwonzora was one of Chamisa’s lieutenants although there were simmering tensions between the political rivals.
He added,”…I told my friend Nelson Chamisa and other people that first of all, if we take this matter to court, we must have sufficient material for the challenge, which we didn’t have.
“The risk is that if a court makes a pronouncement, then that will be the end of the matter as far as the legal and the constitutional issues are concerned.”
Mwonzora admitted there was genuine cause for the opposition to dispute Mnangagwa’s poll victory.
“There was a problem of contested legitimacy in the country, there is no question about that…” he said.
He continued, “The issue relating to the elections of 2018 was taken to the Constitutional Court; in my respected view, it should not have gone there, if people wanted to have a political solution to it.”
Mwonzora however said matters of legitimacy or lack of, around the national leader should not cloud the need for citizens to come together and find solutions to the national crisis.