Mangwana riles at MDC Alliance

HARARE - The ruling Zanu PF is surprised with the brouhaha coming from the MDC Alliance, which it says should have been directed through a political parties liaison committee (PPLC) made up of parties in the National Assembly.

According to Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations that form the bedrock of the MDC Alliance, have for four years been working together in preparation for the harmonised elections due next week.

This was being done under PPLC, funded by the Zimbabwe Institute — a nongovernmental organisation.

He said it was the parties’ understanding that all decisions were to be made through the PPLC and that whenever any of the three parties had issues they were to contact the Zimbabwe Institute for inclusion on their agenda.

“That is how we came up with the Code of Conduct, which was a document agreed with the three political parties as well as the Peace Pledge,” he said.

“We expected this framework to continue throughout the elections that is why as Zanu PF we were surprised when we started having demonstrations — our colleagues in the MDC going into the streets before they engaged in the interparty dialogue.

“We thought that was pure grandstanding because the political dialogue is still in place and last Friday we were pleasantly surprised that when they were discussing sticky issues we realised that we had little differences,” said Mangwana.

The MDC Alliance is up in arms with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) over its failure to agree to its long list of demands.

Among other things, the main opposition party is demanding transparency in the printing, storage and distribution of ballot papers.

Mangwana dismissed the MDC’s demands saying their rivals wanted to stir emotions and use issues around electoral reforms as a campaign tool.

“The demands that they are making are operational, they want to say Zec must run the election this way: Zec acts according to the law and they are governed by the Electoral Act and now they are saying you have to act this way; we do not support Zec but we just read the law. As a lawyer, I think the position taken by Zec is correct. The MDC Alliance wants to be both the player and referee — it just cannot be,” he said.

Mangwana said threats by the MDC Alliance to stall the elections unless if electoral reforms are put in place would be met with the full wrath of the law.

“Remember that participation in elections is a voluntary process. We do not have a law forcing parties to register. Now we have an animal called the MDC Alliance — it is because we do not have laws to register political parties. There is no law that forces political parties to participate in elections — if they decide not to participate that is their problem, the elections have to go on.

“If one party decides not to participate that is their own choice, remember we have more than 20 presidential candidates. Anyone who breaks the law will be dealt with by the law and I am sure that this country has sufficient security measures to deal with any mischief makers,” said Mangwana.

While confirming the existence of PPLC, MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said Zanu PF was acting in bad faith.

“We tabled the issues that we are raising now at that platform and Zanu PF agreed on most of the issues. We are surprised that Zanu PF is now reneging on the promises. We agreed that there should be security of the ballot paper and they supported us, now they are not,” said Mwonzora, who is the MDC chief negotiator.

Comments (2)

What I read is people beating around the bush, if the Alliance has issues that need resolving and as Paul say, they have been working together for fours years, why have these issues not been resolved? Why is ZEC so reluctant to be transparent to all parties involved? If ZANU is not having any issues with ZEC that simply raises more questions than answers.

legosta - 24 July 2018

This is Zimbabwean politics where all players have become very good at moving the goalposts when the mood and occasion suits them. MDC Alliance have become crybabies - they have been part of electoral reforms for the past four years and are now crying foul play.

Daniel 5 - 24 July 2018

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