Opposiion MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) seeking to block his rival and leader of the MDC Alliance, Nelson Chamisa, from using the acronym MDC, claiming that his faction had assumed the name MDC Alliance, despite participating in the 2018 elections under the MDC-T banner.
Critics have described the MDC-T leader’s antics as a desperate attempt to confuse voters ahead of by-elections set for March 26 this year and general elections expected next year.
“We are the owners of the Movement for Democratic Change name, over the years there has been so many derivatives put on it. However, the leadership of this party was defined by the Supreme Court,” read the letter by Mwonzora to Zec chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba dated January 3.
“I was elected substantive president of the party, by virtue of the composite political agreement signed on August 5, 2018 and subsequent meetings of the MDC Alliance, I assumed leadership of the MDC Alliance,” Mwonzora claimed.
“We advise that no one else is allowed to sign for, and present candidates for, and on behalf of the MDC, any of its derivatives and the MDC Alliance.”
Mwonzora was elected leader of MDC-T on December 27, 2020, taking over from Thokozani Khupe, who was shunted to the vice-presidency.
The MDC Alliance bloc, led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai was formed in August 2017, comprising mainly the MDC-T, Welshman Ncube’s MDC-N, Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party and several smaller parties.
Tsvangirai died from cancer complications on February 14, 2018 at a private medical facility in Johannesburg, South Africa and Chamisa, who was one of the three vice-presidents, was elected acting party leader for a year the following day.
He was the alliance’s presidential candidate in the July 30, 2018 elections and competed against President Emmerson Mnangagwa to whom he narrowly lost in a bitterly contested
Chamisa was elected the substantive leader of MDC Alliance at a congress held in Gweru in May 2019. Mwonzora contested for the post of secretary-general at the congress, but lost to Chalton Hwende.
He jumped ship to join Khupe’s MDC-T after the Supreme Court ruled that the process which made Chamisa acting party president after Tsvangirai death was illegal and, therefore, null and void.
Zec has previously stated that it does not register political parties.
The commission spokesperson Joyce Kazembe said as Zec, they had not received Mwonzora’s letter.
Sources from Chamisa’s camp yesterday told NewsDay that the party held a crucial meeting to discuss the elections on Tuesday.
“There were divisions over the issue. But it was finally agreed that Chamisa’s candidates will register under the MDC Alliance name. It was resolved that if Zec rejects them, the party has a fall-back plan,” the source revealed without mentioning the plan.