MDC weighs option to contest Mutoko North by-election

HARARE - The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC, which alleged electoral fraud in the July 30 general election, said yesterday it would consult its rank-and-file membership over a decision to contest in the upcoming Mutoko North by-elections, the latest twist in a long-running election dispute.

This comes after Mutoko North MP Mabel Chinomona was elected as President of the Senate after beating MDC Alliance Senator Morgen Komichi.

After being elected as president of the Senate, Chinomona immediately and automatically ceased to be a member of the National Assembly.

There must, therefore, be an early by-election for her former constituency of Mutoko North.

The opposition party’s spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, told the Daily News they will first go to the people before deciding to participate in the by-election.

No date has been announced for the by-elections yet but they are expected soon.

Mafume accused the Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec) of rigging the July 30 vote, and said they would first  need to consult whether to enter the race or not.

“There is something fundamentally wrong with Zec, especially the way Zec runs the elections. We would like to take stock before we commit ourselves to the next elections.

There is need for dialogue among all stakeholders to make sure that Zec is reformed, otherwise we would only be guided by the party on the way forward,” Mafume told the Daily News.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said they are going to participate in the by-election. He said they would await the proclamation of the poll dates by the president.

Presently, there are two vacancies in the National Assembly, one being the proportional representation seat in Matabeleland North that fell vacant following the death of Thokozile Mathuthu on August 13.

This seat will be filled by a qualified woman nominated by the ruling party in terms of section 39 of the Electoral Act.

During the election of Speaker of the National House of Assembly and Senate president, MDC parliamentarians heckled Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba and Chief Justice Luke Malaba.

The MDC accused the two judges of siding with Zanu PF.

Zec, which conducted the polls to elect presiding officers of both the Senate and National Assembly,  stands accused by the MDC Alliance of being partisan in the July 30 elections as well as assisting in the “rigging” of the polls in favour of eventual winner President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

When Chigumba, who in the eyes of the opposition was at the centre of the alleged rigging entered the National Assembly, MDC Alliance legislators started shouting “mbavha yemaelections, mbavha yemaelections (elections thief)” while their Zanu PF counterparts did nothing to defend her, choosing to remain silent.

As the MDC Alliance denounced her, Chigumba remained stone faced as she took a her seat.

Since the July 30 elections whose outcome was contested and had to be resolved by the Constitutional Court which upheld Zec’s results that showed Mnangagwa winning the presidential vote by 50,6 percent of the total votes to Chamisa’s 44,3 percent, Chigumba has been under incessant attacks.

Only last week while addressing party supporters at his “Thank You” rally in St Mary’s Chitungwiza, Chamisa demanded the sacking of Chigumba and reconstitution of the national electoral management agency.

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