OPPOSITION MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora called President Emmerson Mnangagwa to air his grievances over the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) decision to bar 87 of the party’s aspiring Parliamentarians from contesting next week’s elections.
Mwonzora, who withdrew from the Presidential race in protest last Friday, told journalists Mnangagwa had understood his situation although a court ruling against them was not consistent with what he had told him in their private conversation.
He was speaking at a Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) dialogue on the upcoming elections in Harare on Monday.
MDC will now field 24 out of 210 Members of Parliaments and an unspecified number in the race for council seats across the country.
“I did engage Mnangagwa because this was an abnormal development where we had 87 people who were being denied an opportunity to take part in electoral processes,” said Mwonzora.
“We spoke and he agreed with me. He agreed with me on what public policy was, the interpretation of the constitution and law.
“We talked not as President and Leader of the Opposition but as lawyers. The candidates qualified in terms of the constitution.
“Mnangagwa understood our case or so he says. What then happened was then inconsistent with what he expressed. Either he was not telling us the truth, or he was overruled by his own system, we do not know.”
Besides meeting Mnangagwa, Mwonzora talked to ZEC’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Utoile Silaigwana whom he described as ‘rude’, and the commission’s Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.
This is the first time since its formation in 1999 that the MDC has failed to field more than half the number of expected candidates in a General Election.
Asked whether this translated to him burying the MDC, once a monolith in Zimbabwean politics, Mwonzora shifted blame to his former lieutenants Morgen Komichi, Elias Mudzuri, Thokozani Khupe and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) who led it at the last harmonised polls.
Zimbabweans decide on their next President, Parliamentary and Council representatives on August 23.