THE Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T has stepped up efforts to get the 2023 polls postponed, saying they were a waste of time and should only be held after electoral reforms have been implemented.
MDC-T national chairman Morgen Komichi said Sunday the party believed that dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the way to go.
The opposition party led by is currently engaged in meetings, deliberating on Mnangagwa’s response to its plea to postpone by-elections and also the 2023 elections.
On June 11, Mnangagwa and Mwonzora held a closed-door meeting at State House in Harare at a closed meeting, and it was reported that the MDC-T leader had asked the President to scrap the pending by-elections for more than 40 parliamentary seats and more than 80 council seats triggered by his party’s recall of MPs and councillors belonging to the MDC Alliance.
This was followed by a proposal in July by MDC-T senators during a sitting of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security for the postponement of elections citing COVID-19 regulations.
On Saturday, the opposition party met with provincial executives to discuss Mnangagwa’s response to its proposals.
“People need reforms, and it will be foolhardy for people to just be programmed. Let’s move away from this programming and see what has made our elections disputable for these last years,” Komichi said.
“We must come to reality and say because we don’t have electoral reforms, the outcome is predetermined and can be manipulated, and it will be stupid for Zimbabweans to go for an election or a programme that they know the outcome is predetermined,” he said.
“The time is now for the people of Zimbabwe to go to the drawing table to say what are the serious issues affecting us, and then we do a process to welcome whoever the winner is.”
He said Zimbabwe was now poorer because of the country’s preoccupation with elections for the last two decades.
“For the last 20 years, people are not concentrating on the economy, and that is why the country is poorer and poorer. Soon after voting, there is a dispute, court challenges, Sadc is involved and people do not benefit from that.
“People want national dialogue, a process that guarantees them better living and is predictable. With the experience of the 2008 dialogue, the 1987 unity dialogue among others, they are positive on the dialogue process to resolve conflict. We have a challenge as Zimbabweans right now that we are only two years before elections, but we have never sat down to dialogue over a thing like electoral reforms, and you know our elections have been disputed since time immemorial. To me, it will be very unreasonable for us as Zimbabweans to just assume things will be okay on their own without us taking action as far as the pushing for national dialogue is concerned.”
Komichi also said there were negative perceptions regarding the Political Actors Dialogue as a Mnangagwa thing.
“But let us come back and say it was an effort to create a dialogue platform. What can we do as Zimbabweans to make it more friendly and inclusive? Let’s move away from the politics of acrimony,” he said.
On a possible coalition government with Zanu PF, Komichi added: “That will be the product of the dialogue, but what we need is something that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe. Whatever comes of the dialogue that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe will be welcome.”
The MDC-T has been accused of working with Zanu PF to block the 2023 elections and also decimate the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba yesterday confirmed the on-going meetings by the party, saying they were triggered by Mnangagwa’s response to the party’s request.
Mnangagwa is said to have responded by saying there should be dialogue between the two parties.
“As I said before that the response by President Mnangagwa triggered meetings of various organs of the party, starting with that of the national standing committee, which was then followed by the national executive committee in pursuance to ratifying the dialogue process which many Zimbabweans are eager to see kick start,” Damba said.
“Yesterday’s meeting was a consultative meeting in line with our core value as a party that seeks the mandate of the organs and the membership of the party to make decisions for the good of the people of Zimbabwe such as the very important decision to resolve Zimbabwe’s political, social and economic woes through dialogue with Zanu PF and other State players.”
Damba said the MDC-T national council would make a final decision on the dialogue process.