Mwonzora’s name will appear on ballot paper, says ZEC
….. As Mwonzora verbally attacks Wezhira Munya at his press conference
9 August 2023
Shockwaves reverberated through MDC party structures and supporters yesterday as MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora announced his withdrawal from the presidential race just two weeks before the August 23 harmonized election.
Speaking at a hastily assembled press conference, a visibly agitated Mwonzora described the upcoming election as a “sham and a farce” and stated he would not legitimize the process with his participation.
“We are not going to be part of this baptism, this blessing of this sham. This election is a farce,” he declared.
Yet even as Mwonzora railed against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC], deputy chair Rodney Kiwa in today’s Daily News [9th August 2023] dismissed the withdrawal as coming too late .
With less than 21 days until ballots are cast, candidates cannot pull out as per Electoral Act statutes.
Why Mwonzora, a lawyer, would announce his withdrawal knowing the legal requirements has raised eyebrows?
Some MDC members and political analysts described Mwonzora’s presidential candidature withdrawal as a face-saving maneuver after failing to register 87 MDC parliamentary candidates due to unpaid registration fees.
Political analyst Mr Akim Dube said, “Mwonzora withdrew after he realized that he will get zero votes as his candidates did during 2022 by elections. He was going to be heavily defeated in presidential elections. Mwonzora is now very unpopular.”
But while abandoning the presidential race, Mwonzora has allowed 24 aspiring MDC parliamentarians – who financed their own nominations – along with registered aspiring councilors, to remain on ballots. To some, it smacks of hypocrisy and callousness.
Why should Mwonzora withdraw his candidature for the sake of 87 candidates and forcing other 24 candidates to participate in the same election he described as a shame?
“Mwonzora failed to pay our fees but expects us to campaign alone now. What kind of leadership is this?” one MDC aspiring member of parliament said on condition of anonymity.
Another MDC aspiring member of parliament called it a betrayal: “He [Mwonzora] left us vulnerable when we need him most.”
The presidential candidature withdrawal is yet another chaotic turn for the fractured opposition party under Mwonzora’s leadership. Panned by critics as lacking political acumen, his inconsistent maneuvering and inflammatory rhetoric have undermined the MDC’s credibility.
Yesterday’s antics [candidature withdrawal by Mwonzora] proved no different. Mwonzora viciously attacked independent writer Wezhira Munya during question and answer, calling him “deranged” for accurately predicting the withdrawal. Munya had received leaked info from Mwonzora’s own two top 6 inner circle members to the effect that Mwonzora was forced to withdraw his candidature by National Council members due to many allegations.
While Mwonzora struggles to put off fire in the MDC burning house after his candidature withdrawal, the upcoming election remains a ten horse race. Major contenders include CCC President Nelson Chamisa, ZANU-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, and an array of minor opposition figures.
But many believe the real fight is between the top two: Youthful President Chamisa and Zanu PF president Mnangangwa. As Mwonzora withdraws in ignominy, the nation watches with bated breath.