As the MDC Alliance 2019 elective congress builds momentum, the Zimbabwe Morning Post interviewed the biggest opposition party’ Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora who is likely to contest the incumbent Nelson Chamisa.
Since the announcement of the congress dates which is scheduled to take place from May 24-26 there has been mudslinging as party members coalesce around their presidential candidates of choice and Mwonzora has found himself on the receiving end as many view him as the potential candidate to contest Chamisa.
In a wide ranging interview Mwonzora made it clear that internal squabbles are building up in the party with some members exhibiting signs of lack of maturity and failing to live up to the tenets of democracy.
“I have come to the conclusion that not all those people who talk about democracy understand what it is,” Mwonzora said.
I am not Zanu PF
As internal squabbles gain momentum Mwonzora is being accused of being a Zanu PF agent “because he is gunning for Chamisa’ position.”
“I have no idea about Zanu PF’s interference with the MDC Alliance Congress, MDC Alliance has a constitution that allows for people to contest for any positions,” said Mwonzora.
In a candid talk, Mwonzora rubbished the rhetoric that he is Zanu PF, and has dared his competitors to prove their allegations. He explained his role in MDC Alliance politics and pledged his commitment to the MDC Alliance struggle.
“I cannot be Zanu PF because there is an MDC Alliance Congress,” he continued.
“I will be contesting for my sixth position, not yet sure as to what position I will be nominated to contest but will be eagerly waiting for my nomination,” said Mwonzora.
Since joining politics Mwonzora has contested for five posts which include being a district officer for Nyanga, secretary for local government in Manicaland, parly representative to the national council, party spokesperson and party secretary general. Mwonzora gave Chamisa a run for his money to clinch the secretary general post. The late leader Morgan Tsvangirai had to “smuggle” back Chamisa into the presidium by appointing him a second vice president as he moved to manage the succession wrangle that engulfed the opposition soon after the 2013 elections.
They don’t know what democracy entails
Mwonzora expressed disappointment as it came to light that some members of the party lack the basic understanding of democracy, its tenets and principles.
In a hard hitting blow to his detractors, Mwonzora said “the smear campaigns are from competitors and people with no idea of what democracy entails, …I come to the conclusion that not all those people who talk about democracy understand what it is.”
However he remains unfazed and determined. “I am unfazed by it and it won’t affect my decision making matrix,” he added.
Prove your allegations
Mwonzora challenged top MDC Alliance officials who are leading the smear campaign on various social media platforms to prove the said allegations and has labelled them as “lost individuals.”
“I have seen myself being a serious target of mudslinging by some party officials… I dare them to say and prove their allegations before MDC Alliance membership…I challenge them to prove the allegations that they continue to spew,” he added.
“Some are writing from outside Zimbabwe where they are living large in the comfort of their homes and safety. Some simply abandoned our youths in prisons and police detention when we all thought we are in the struggle together,” Mwonzora said adding: “The struggle is here in Zimbabwe.”
My history speaks for itself
In an attempt to distance himself from the allegations Mwonzora explained his involvement in politics as a clear quest for democracy. His achievements and contributions cannot go unnoticed as he played a part in drafting the current constitution.
“I am proud of the role I played as my party deployed me in COPAC aimed at bringing about a new constitution… I played my part in trying to bring electoral reforms in this country, now we have BVR.. I was part of drafters of electoral parties code of conduct which is now the law,” Mwonora said.
Despite all brickbats being thrown at him Mwonzora said: “I will continue to play my part in the democratic struggle.”
Mwonzora joined the treacherous Zimbabwean political landscape as far back as 1988 where he fought against the former president Robert Mugabe’s one party state and managed to get some prison time under his belt.
I joined the democratic struggle as far back as 1988 where we fought as student leaders against the one party state.”
Mwonzora also said he was in the trenches with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions as its legal advisor after graduating from the university. He also opined that he joined the legal team that successfully challenged the constitutionality of the political parties finance act resulting in opposition political parties getting state funding.