HARARE – The MDC-T party, led by Douglas Mwonzora, said on Thursday it would run as an MDC Alliance in the March by-election – a sure move to incentivize MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, to rename his party.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday issued a proclamation setting March 26 as the date for 28 by-elections.
Elections are also underway for 105 council seats, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Most of the positions were created by the MDC-T party after it recalled dozens of MPs and elected councilors from the MDC alliance after the Supreme Court ruled in March 2019 that Chamisa’s appointment as leader of the MDC-T party was illegal a year earlier. .
According to official sources, at the time the verdict was announced, Chamisa had led the MDC Alliance to an election and narrowly lost to Mnangagwa.
Ironically, the vote had a party called the MDC-T, led by Thokozani Khupe, losing to Mwonzora in a court-ordered extraordinary congress.
According to Chamisa, the MDC-T is a Zanu PF proxy funded by the ruling party to disrupt the MDC alliance.
The MDC alliance leader now faces a tough decision ahead of the February 26 nominating tribunal session – either roll the dice and fight for the name, or register an entirely different party and emblem.
MDC-T spokesman Witness Dube was quick to confirm that the party would seek to appropriate the name of the MDC Alliance.
“The MDC-T is the leader of the MDC Alliance electoral pact which continues to this day. In the upcoming by-elections, some constituencies belong to our PDP allies and we intend to honor this agreement,” Dube said.
The MDC Alliance, meanwhile, is holding its cards close to its chest, and supporters are wondering for how much longer.
Chamisa recently asked her supporters on social media to pick a color – likely as part of rebranding planning.
MDC Alliance spokesman Fadzayi Mahere said, “In due course, we will explain our position to the people.”
She stressed that her main priority was electoral reform to ensure free and fair elections.
“We reiterate our call for the alignment of electoral laws with the constitution,” she said.
“We also call for the full implementation of existing electoral laws, especially those relating to state media, the complete disbanding of the partisan and militarized ZEC Secretariat and the comprehensive reform of the Commission itself, such as we have indicated this in our electoral amendment bill and our electoral reform document, PRICE, detailing the principles to be followed for a credible election.
“We call for honest engagement with the ZEC, which has a constitutional duty to engage key stakeholders to ensure the implementation of electoral reforms.
“Setting an election date without addressing the contentious issue of electoral reform is putting the cart before the horse. The need for reform is non-negotiable.