By-elections: Chamisa to announce decision ‘at the appropriate time’

As some political parties gear up for the by-elections slated for March 26, opposition MDC-Alliance has said it will announce its decision on the polls “at the appropriate time.”

Zimbabwe has a total of 133 elective vacancies, which comprise 28 parliamentary seats and 105 council seats emanating from recalls, deaths and dismissals.

The government has in the past two years maintained a March 2020 suspension of all electoral activities despite repeated calls from political parties, civic society and the diplomatic community for the polls to be held.

It was only last week that President Emmerson Mnangagwa finally set aside January 26 and March 26 as the dates for the sitting of nomination courts, to receive names of the candidates, and polling, respectively.

The polls will be held at a time when there is still confusion on the leadership of the main opposition MDC-Alliance, with rival MDC-T leader, Douglas Mwonzora claiming he is the president of the alliance.

Moreover, in a recent letter, dated 3 January 2022, to the electoral management body, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mwonzora declared himself leader of the MDC-Alliance.

He told ZEC that only he and three other officials of his MDC-T party could confirm candidates “on behalf of the MDC, any of its offshoots and the MDC Alliance” ahead of the impending by-elections.

“We are the owners of the Movement for Democratic Change name,” Mwonzora wrote in the letter.

“Over the years, there have been so many derivatives put on it. However, the leadership of this party was defined by the Supreme Court in the judgement in SC 56/20. Pursuant to this judgement the party held its extraordinary congress on December 27, 2020, where I was elected the substantive president of the party.”

He added: “By virtue of the Composite Political Agreement signed on August 5, 2017, and the subsequent meetings of the MDC Alliance, I assumed the leadership of the MDC Alliance.”

MDC Alliance spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, could not be drawn into responding to Mwonzora’s claims and on whether they will contest the by-election and the name they will be using to eliminate confusion.

She instead said Chamisa would soon unveil their 2022 agenda on a date yet to be advised “to give the nation direction and the expectation of things to be accomplished this year.

“On further matters, we will make an announcement at the appropriate time,” said Mahere, referring to questions asked on their participation in the polls and the name they will be using.

“The people know who their leaders are. As political actors, we will bring our A-game to this and every election. There will be no confusion. And as we do so, we continue to demand action on reforms.”

Meanwhile, Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has since announced it will boycott the by-elections citing preparations for the crucial 2023 harmonised polls.

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