MDC formations yesterday said they will not participate in any elections or by-elections before electoral reforms and a cartel of other improvements have been implemented, a move that could give the ruling Zanu PF electoral victories on a silver platter.
The opposition parties were reacting to President Robert Mugabe’s proclamation of March 27 as the date for by-elections in Mount Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe parliamentary constituencies.
The two seats fell vacant following the elevation of Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa (Chirumanzu-Zibagwe) to the post of vice-president in December last year and Joice Mujuru (Mt Darwin West) when she assumed the same post in September 2013.
Mujuru has since been fired over a number of allegations, which include plotting to kill Mugabe, corruption and abuse of office.
In an interview yesterday, MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed his party position.
“Our congress resolutions are that we will not participate in any election or by-election until there have been electoral reforms, security sector reforms and media reforms,” he said.
“So we are not going to participate in the two by-elections of Mt Darwin West and Chirumanzu–Zibagwe.”
MDC- Renewal spokesperson Jacob Mafume told Southern Eye that his party was not going to participate in the by-elections without reforms.
“We need significant reforms and without those reforms we will not participate in those by-elections,” he said.
Efforts to get the position of MDC led by Welshman Ncube were yesterday fruitless as his and the party’s spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube’s phones were not reachable. However, a party insider yesterday said they, like their counterparts, were not going to participate without reforms.
Mugabe announced the dates in an extraordinary Government Gazette published on Saturday, saying the nomination courts would sit on January 29 to receive nomination papers of interested candidates for the two constituencies.
The by-elections are being held under the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that “the seat of a Member of Parliament shall become vacant upon the member becoming president or vice-president”.
Mnangagwa’s seat automatically became vacant by operation of the law when he assumed the vice-presidency last month.
Questions remain regarding the Bikita West seat held by Munyaradzi Kereke, who has since returned to Zanu PF.
Constitutionally, once he returned to Zanu PF, his seat fell vacant and the MDC-T has indicated it would write to the Speaker of Parliament about the matter.