Newly elected MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora says the MDC-T is introducing a new brand of politics, bordering on tolerance and rebuilding Zimbabwe, away from the hate speech and toxic criticism that had become the hallmark of opposition politics.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Zim Morning Post Publisher Elias Mambo, Mwonzora said he will continue with the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s “big tent” principle and his party will work with all progressive forces except the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
“We are open to partnerships and coalitions but certainly not with the MDC Alliance. They are being controlled by Jonathan Moyo and other G40 proponents. Their politics is toxic, divisive and thrive on hate language. We are introducing a new brand of politics where there is tolerance and rebuilding of the nation,” Mwonzora said.
“Nelson Chamisa is being advised by G40 so we cannot work with them. I have evidence that prior to the 2018 elections G40 assisted Chamisa but now they are directly advising him.”
Turning to the recent extra-ordinary congress which powered him to the helm of the MDC-T, Mwonzora said the congress was done procedurally and those alleging rigging have the burden of proof.
He dismissed suggestions that the extra-ordinary congress (EOC) had no quorum saying anyone disputing the results or process can challenge them in any court of law.
“We postponed our EOC because we felt there were sticking issues which needed to be resolved. We, all presidential candidates, were hands on in coming up with a clean voters roll with those who were in the structures in 2014,” Mwonzora said.
“The independent electoral body managed to supervise the entire electoral process despite some candidates walking out.”
“We could not abort the process simply because some candidates felt they were losing, we had to finish the process,” he said.
The EOC was marred by allegations of rigging, irregularities and violence.
“Those alleging rigging have the burden of proof and can challenge the outcome in any court of law,” Mwonzora said.
“Some candidates said they were not happy with the voters roll yet a day before the congress we all managed to see the voters roll which was being compiled at one of the candidates’ house,” he added.
Mwonzora said despite the chaos that rocked the congress and his alleged subsequent suspension, he had to calm down and extend an olive branch to the candidates who lost, for the good of the party.
“We are ready to rebuild the MDC-T brand and it needs everyone that is why I did not put into consideration whatever happened in the build up to the congress,” he said.
Zanu PF links
Mwonzora said Zimbabwean politics has been so muddied such that no one can air their views in variance with other elements within the opposition, without being labelled Zanu PF.
“We saw it when Welshman Ncube left the party, we saw it when Tendai Biti left the party, it is so toxic. Anyone who does not agree with them is labelled Zanu PF or sell out. This is the mind-set shift we want to bring into our body politic,” he said.
“Time will prove us and we know many will be attracted to the kind of politics we are introducing. We are tired of the politics of violence and hate language,” he continued.
“We are an alternative party so we should provide alternatives to what Zanu PF is doing,” he said.
Mwonzora said the MDC-T National Executive will decide whether the MDC-T participates in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), a platform for political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections.
“The National executive will deliberate on that. We will announce our position but I have my views. I would want POLAD to be inclusive. It should have participants from the churches and civic organisations,” he said.