Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has announced that it will not be participating in the by-elections set for this March, saying it has already set its sights on the 2023 harmonised elections.
Party president Mqondisi Moyo claimed that the outcome of the polls had already been predetermined as the ruling party Zanu PF was already campaigning while other parties were being deprived of the same opportunity due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Moyo added that the announcement came at a short notice.
“Although we knew there were vacant seats for which by-elections were necessary, we expected a date to be announced in time. We are rather busy preparing for the national 2023 elections and engaging people on issues that do not need an election,” he said in an interview with CITE.
Last week, President Mnangagwa announced March 26, 2022, as the date for holding by-elections and set January 26, 2022, for the sitting of nomination courts across the country.
Zimbabwe has a total of 133 elective vacancies, which comprise 28 parliamentary seats and 105 council seats emanating from recalls, deaths or dismissals.
The MRP leader accused the Zanu PF led government of having deprived opposition parties of opportunities to campaign due to stringent Covid-19 regulations that restrict political activity.
“On the other hand, we saw Zanu PF doing their campaigns. As MRP, whenever we try to do our campaigns or visit structures, we get arrested. We, therefore, see no reasons why we should participate where there’s no time to campaign for the by-elections. Why ambush us when they knew about the election date beforehand?” he asked.
“After Mnangagwa proclaimed the dates, he never said a word about the removal of Covid-19 regulations or how people are to go ahead with their campaigns.”
Moyo also took a swipe at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for failing to provide the voters roll to the opposition parties.
He claimed the party had approached ZEC on several occasions demanding to inspect the voters roll but was informed it was not readily available.
“Why would ZEC fail to have a valid voter’s roll when it knew elections were imminent? To us, this is a part of rigging by ZEC because failure by opposition parties to access the voters roll means we are not going to be in a position to know who is going to vote for us or not,” said the MRP president.
“In the meantime, as MRP we want to concentrate much on the issues that affect our people and do not need elections. For example, we are more on the ground dealing with land issues, issues of Shona speaking teachers (in areas where isiNdebele is spoken) and the lack of opportunities.”