Mwonzora cited the refusal of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to accept nomination papers for 87 candidates from his party, rendering his potential presidency ineffective without control of the parliament.
Speaking at a news conference in Harare, Mwonzora stated, “We are not going to be part of the baptism, blessing of this sham. This election is a farce.”
He revealed that despite his withdrawal from the presidential race, the 24 constituency candidates from the MDC-T who had successfully filed nomination papers would still participate in the election.
The MDC-T leader attributed the party’s treatment by ZEC to their previous legal challenges concerning delimitation.
Mwonzora claimed that the delimitation in question, which the MDC-T opposed, is now being enforced, leading to the alleged mass disenfranchisement and discrimination of their candidates.
Expressing his decision to withdraw from the race, Mwonzora stated, “Having seriously considered this, and being a patriotic Zimbabwean, I took part in the crafting of the constitution of our land.
“I believe that the constitution is not there for decoration. I believe that there is a minimum standard of integrity required in our electoral system, and I believe that the mass disenfranchisement of our people, the discrimination of one party by the election management body… we are boycotting this farce, we are boycotting this sham, we are boycotting this presidential election.”
Mwonzora further indicated that he had informed ZEC of his withdrawal and specifically requested the exclusion of his name from the ballot paper. He anticipates that ZEC will publicly announce his withdrawal.
Mwonzora vows to vote for opposition
Despite withdrawing from the presidential race, Mwonzora clarified that he will still vote in the election but declined to endorse any particular candidate.
He said, “When you are boycotting, you have no-one to back, you’re refusing to participate. Why should we back someone to participate in a farce, in a theft against the people of Zimbabwe?”
Mwonzora, known for his consistent advocacy for democratic principles, stated he will not vote for the ruling Zanu PF party.
He expressed dissatisfaction with Zimbabwe’s judiciary, accusing them of dismissing his party’s cases based on technicalities.
He stated, “The judges have treated our cases on technicalities, we refuse to be part of that façade… Zimbabweans deserve a fair judiciary and abhor selective application of the law.”
As a result of Mwonzora’s withdrawal, Zimbabwe’s presidential candidate field will now be reduced to ten, including incumbent Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking re-election.