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Mwonzora asks President Mnangagwa to suspend by-elections

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  • While Mwonzora wants by-elections scrapped, the rival MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa wants the by-elections held so that it can reclaim lost ground and prove its relevance and popularity in the Zimbabwean political space.

OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora reportedly asked President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga to suspend by-elections when he met them behind closed doors at the State House in Harare last week, it has emerged.

Mwonzora met the Zanu-PF leaders on 11 June in what Presidential spokesperson George Charamba described as a private meeting between two parties.

While Mwonzora wants by-elections scrapped, the rival MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa wants the by-elections held so that it can reclaim lost ground and prove its relevance and popularity in the Zimbabwean political space. Chamisa lost party headquarters, funding from State coffers as well as elected officials when Mwonzora won several court cases against him.

Since the 11 June meeting, the MDC-T and Zanu-PF have steadfastly declined to reveal the specifc details of the meeting and what was discussed, but a leaked four page document supposedly written by Mwonzora reveals the proposals he made to President Mnangagwa.

According to the document, whose authenticity Charamba declined to comment on, proposes that by-elections be called off, saying it would give Zimbabweans time to “find each other”.

“While Zimbabweans are talking and finding each other in this serious manner it seems unnecessary to introduce something divisive as by-elections,” Mwonzora said in the statement.

“It is, therefore, suggested that while discussions are going on regarding aforementioned issues, by-elections be suspended.

“In order to avoid prejudice to the electorate, it is suggested that an arrangement be made for parties to make replacements of vacancies in their areas of control as guided by law.”

Mwonzora, according to the document, further proposes the scrapping of POLAD and in its place the setting up of a new dialogue platform exclusively between MDC-T and Zanu PF to be known as the Parliamentary Dialogue Forum (PDF).

He proposes that the PDF be made up of five Zanu-PF legislators, five MDC-T legislators and two chiefs.

According to the document, the PDF would have its own secretariat where Zanu-PF and the MDC-T will second officials that would be on a full salary.

“The two political parties to select two salaried and specific coordinators each, who sit in the PDF,” reads the document.

Mwonzora assured Mnangagwa that there would be no further talk of the 2018 general elections as that was water under the bridge as concluded by the Constitutional Court.

“The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe made a definitive judgement, which in the party’s view settled the legitimacy question. To the MDC-T party the legitimacy is a settled issue,” he wrote.

The MDC-T leader also proposed timelines in which negotiations should have been completed.

“The parliamentary dialogue forum shall be set up by June 30, the thematic committee shall be set up by July 15 while considerations of the PDF report by principals be by October,” the document added.

“Under the new approach in all political, economic and social strategies, what is paramount are the best national interests of the Zimbabwean people.

Reached for comment, Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba told the Standard newspaper that the MDC-T leader was acting in the best interests of all Zimbabweans.

“I do not know the source of your document, so for you to say that this person or that person is a liar is neither here nor there,” Damba said.

“All I am saying is that the document you were given has clearly sent you far away from the scent and the prey.

“What we are doing is in the best interest of all Zimbabweans, so the misleading you allege falls off.

“We cannot give you the document now because it will be tantamount to negotiating in public.”

Charamba said he could not comment on a private meeting.

“The interaction between President Emmerson Mnangagwa (and Mwonzora) was done behind closed doors,” Charamba said.

“Whatever documents transacted and commitments made in the meeting are between the two parties.

“I can’t stand in as the president’s spokesperson to comment on a document, which I am not aware of its authenticity.” ■

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