Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
MDC Alliance secretary general, Mr Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said he withdrew from the presidential election race because the playing field was tilted in favour of his rival Mr Nelson Chamisa.
He launched a scathing attack on his party and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for failing to address concerns that he had raised.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Mwonzora said he had raised an array of irregularities that he said were rampant in the ongoing provincial congresses but the ZCTU which was superintending over the polls had failed to address them.
This, he said, had seen him withdrawing from the race.
“I am no longer able to continue participating in the current congress. I have raised my concerns to the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, ZCTU led by Mr Japhet Moyo but nothing was done. I therefore, had to withdraw because I do not wish to see the party divided,” said Mr Mwonzora.
“I cannot continue participating in the congress under the present circumstances if the concerns I have raised remained unresolved.”
Asked why he announced that he would contest the post of the secretary general, Mr Mwonzora said the statement was based on his desire to respect those who had nominated him to that post.
Pressed to divulge the concerns he had raised, Mr Mwonzora referred questions to Mr Moyo.
“There are internal but there are a number of concerns that I raised but were not addressed,” he said.
When contacted for comment, Mr Moyo confirmed receiving the letter from Mr Mwonzora but said the committee had not yet sat to deliberate on them.
“We received several concerns. I am not comfortable to comment on an issue that we have not yet deliberated.”
Sources close to Mr Mwonzora’s camp said some of the issues contained in his letter were that some seven districts in Manicaland were disfranchised from the nomination process.
“Seven districts are a significant number that can affect a result,” said the source.
Another issue raised was that ZCTU was not in charge of the process but in essence, the congress was being run by the organising department led by Mr Amos Chibaya who is also a candidate.
“Other issues were that congress was being held at night under unsafe circumstances. Another thorny issue raised in the letter was that other candidates were not being allowed to contest. There was also a lot of violence perpetrated on those perceived to be against Chamisa,” said the source.
Another issue raised by Mr Mwonzora was that the electoral college was tampered with to suit certain candidates.
“The electoral college kept on changing. People who did not qualify to vote were allowed to do so while some of those qualified were barred from contesting,” said the source.
Some delegates complained that venues of provincial congresses would suddenly change and also cited poor planning, failure to organise transport to ferry people to the venue.
MDC Alliance spokesperson, Mr Jacob Mafume said in some instances they had to change venues because of adverse weather.
“There is nothing called change of venue and transport challenges at a congress. We are all aware of the fuel situation in the country. We are all aware that it had begun raining therefore, people can choose to go to a sheltered place.
“You cannot continue having a congress at an open space when the weather report tells you it will rain. We have also made sure that a quorum is met. Once it was met, congress proceeded,” said Mr Mafume.