This week the the MDC-T President Douglas Mwonzora sat down with The Sunday Express and posed a couple of questions to him. This is what he said:
Q: MDC-T is a party feared by many to be close to Zanu PF. This must worry you in terms of image and gaining members
The MDCT is the most powerful political party in Zimbabwe. It is a social democratic party guided by indelible values of freedom, justice, equality, democracy, constitutionalism and the respect of the rule of law. It is completely independent of control of any political party or entity. Unlike other parties none of our officials have had any business dealing with Zanu PF.
None of our officials have defected to Zanu PF. We do not have Zanu PF officials within our ranks unlike some our colleagues who are controlled by the G40 faction of Zanu PF.
Most of our leaders are the founding members of the party with a rich trade union background. We have over the years prosecuted the democratic struggle with distinction.
The accusation that we have links with Zanu PF are coming from our political competitors led by Jonathan Moyo who is in fact the king pin of the deposed G40 faction of Zanu PF.
It is part of their cheap propaganda against us. Our accusers have suffered more than 20 defections to Zanu PF in a space of one month. Since our historic extraordinary congress we have adopted dialogue and tolerance as party of our political strategy.
Our interaction with Zanu PF is at an official level in Parliament and in local authority where we share power. We are not too worried by cheap propaganda.
Whichever way you look at it as MDC-T you have been fighting MDCA and its president Nelson Chamisa instead of Zanu-PF and Mnangagwa. Who would you knock down first in the boxing ring?
It is Nelson Chamisa and his group that is fighting us. No day passes without Pedzisayi Ruhanya, Alex Magaisa Jonathan Moyo and other MDC Alliance sympathisers denigrating my person and other MDC-T leaders. In some instances, they have resorted to tribal rants against us. They have resorted to abusing social media against us.
Their use of hate language has no equal. They also have wedged legal challenges against us.
To date the so called MDC Alliance have taken us to court on 23 occasions. Fortunately, due to the competence, astuteness and alacrity of our lawyers we have beaten them in most of the cases. Due to our strategy of dialogue and tolerance we have been very effective against Zanu PF and President Mnangagwa.
For example, most of our demands in the handling of the Covid 19 pandemic have been met by the government. We have regrettably been involved in political fights with the so called MDC Alliance. Our superiority over them is a matter of public record. We will beat both Zanu PF and the so called MDC Alliance in 2023.
What are your thoughts on the status of Zanu-PF. What is your message to the ruling party and what makes you feel you will be listened to?
We are the only political party in recent months to call on the government to compensate the victims of political violence. We have demanded compensation for victims of the Gukurahundi massacres, the 2008 violence and the 2018 August 1 shootings among others atrocities.
If you go to the Parliamentary records you will find debates by our officials in this regard. I am the only opposition leader in the last three weeks to publicly push for compensation of the victims of political violence.
We shall keep on knocking for the compensation of these victims. We shall not give up at all. I think our strategy of peaceful resolution of matters is going to yield positive results.
Are you leaving MDC Alliance using the same name? It was reported you wanted to change this name.
The MDC Alliance is a group pf seven (7) political parties established in terms of an Alliance Agreement signed on the 5th of August,2017. It is a clear term of this agreement that whoever is the leader of the MDCT is the leader of the MDC Alliance.
Has MDCT or have you resolved all issues with Dr Khupe? If not give details on how you intend to resolve this matter of Madam Khupe and MDCT?
We do not have any issues with Dr Thokozani Khupe. She is our Deputy President. We are however aware of strenuous efforts to drive a wedge between Dr Khupe and myself by some irresponsible individuals in the diaspora. That scheme will not succeed.
Like it or not MDC Alliance and MDCT will share votes from Zimbabweans in the next 2023 general elections, can you do something to prevent this imminent vote splitting problem?
We are for the unity of all progressive forces and we subscribe to the big tent philosophy. But we know that we are going to win in 2023. Some people have sought to write our political obituary but they are wrong. We are a very astute and strategic unit.
Some Zimbabwe political parties are planning an amalgamation at the next general election. Would you be willing to be part of this?
It makes political sense to unite. However, our unity must be based on clear values and principles. The political parties planning on amalgamation have not approached us. How much money did MDCT receive from government and could you please clarify the issues of party funds embezzlement allegations facing MDCT and MDC Alliance?
Have you been silenced or compromised?
The embezzlement allegations were just part of the smear campaign towards our Extraordinary Congress and have absolutely no substance. The financial system of the MDC is governed by its constitution as well as the Finance and Administration Rules. It is impossible for one individual to take out money from the party account.
At any rate the congress resolved to have all the party funds externally audited. We are aware that some individuals have been pushing certain corrupt officials within the police to arrest some of our leaders for the sole purpose of embarrassing them. The party received about $22 million last year.
You have been labelled as a sell out after working with Nelson Chamisa, the man you are now fighting in the party you once supported. Explain what changed?
Name calling and cyber bulling are some of the undemocratic practises that are being employed by cyber bullies like Jonathan Moyo, Pedzisayi Ruhanya and Alex Magaisa. These have brought Zimbabwean politics to a new low.
I have challenged then time and time again to provide evidence of their allegations and they have failed because simply the evidence doesn’t exist. I am the longest serving member of the opposition in Zimbabwe having started in 1988 as a young law student at the University of Zimbabwe. I rose through the ranks of the MDC on merit.
I started as treasurer for Nyanga District, Secretary for Local Government for Manicaland Province, Information and Publicity Secretary, Secretary General and now President. My disagreement with Nelson Chamisa was simply over his decision to let G40 run the party for him. Disagreeing with Chamisa is not selling out.
The interview will continue next week.
Douglas Mwonzora is President of the MDC
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