Douglas Mwonzora: Opportunist or in defence of constitutionalism
“I have a rich history of defending constitutionalism. I have been dragging them (Nelson Chamisa and his colleagues) screaming and kicking so that they do nothing but respect their constitution,” Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T secretary general, told this journalist in an interview on Saturday.
“We are democrats and that should flow in our blood. We cannot shout democracy and shred the constitution simply because it is not favourable to our wishes. This has been my fight and I will go down in history as one who fought in defence of the constitution,” he added.
Mwonzora, armed with the Supreme court judgement which mandated the main opposition to hold an extra ordinary congress and elect a legitimate leader, has left the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance in sixes and sevens.
The Supreme court judgement also endorsed Thokozani Khupe as the legitimate leader of the opposition and in the process dethroning Chamisa who took over soon after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai.
As the SG Mwonzora’ signature is all over the recall notices that have seen 31 legislators losing their jobs as well as over 90 councillors being recalled.
He has become the face of the “opposition fighting the opposition” and will be remembered for single handedly decimating the main opposition MDC Alliance.
Is Mwonzora an opportunist or a real democrat in defense of constitutionalism?
“I held several meetings with Chamisa where I reminded him to right the wrongs of his ascendancy to the throne,” he said.
“I had no absolute doubt Chamisa was popular within the structures and I decided to stand with him during the 2018 elections.”
“But I never missed an opportunity to remind him to call for an extra ordinary congress to regularise what was wrong. It was possible but he thought otherwise and I had to act,” Mwonzora continued.
Despite his actions, giving Zanu PF an edge in its hold on power, Mwonzora insists that history will judge him as one who brought back the spirit of constitutionalism in the opposition party.
Since the day the supreme court ruled and handed the leadership of the party to Khupe Mwonzora has been under attack from his erstwhile colleagues with some calling him a sell-out.
While many say the recalls are a blow to democracy as the legitimate aspirations of the people, the electorates, are wiped out without their consent, Mwonzora thinks otherwise.
“The recalls are meant to protect the electorate who voted on a party ticket. Once the elected legislator decides to shift allegiance then the electorate is left vulnerable and needs protection,” he said.
“That is why we decided to protect the vote by handing it back to the electorate…so another election is held and the recalled can still contest under their new party…this is what we call democracy,” he added.
Political analysts and opinion makers in support of Mwonzora and Khupe believe the spirit of constitutionalism is under attack from a new breed of autocrats classified as populists.
“Chamisa has abandoned constitutionalism and hides behind a veil of populism in his quest for power,” said one analyst.
“Such leaders aim at primarily constitutional deconstruction . To them it is all about power and then the other things can follow,” said the analyst.
Mwonzora railroading the will of the people
What makes Mwonzora the enemy of the people is his move “to abuse the recall clause” to “steal the wishes of the people. The recalls have dealt a massive blow to political processes crucial for democracy.
The recalled legislators were voted into office by the people and by the stroke of a pen Mwonzora has reversed the democratic gains enjoyed by the electorate.
“He is fighting democracy. Democracy is when people are free to participate in the electoral processes where they are able to choose a representative of their choice. Once that is reversed by one person then the whole concept of democracy suffers. So Mwonzora has just done that. He is a pseudo- democrat,” opined one senior official from the MDC Alliance adding:
“Democracy entails respecting the will of the people.”
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