MDC: ZEC Can't Force Us To Participate In A Fraudulent Election
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Senator Douglas Mwonzora, has asserted that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) lacks the authority to compel their party’s participation in the upcoming 2023 harmonized election, which the MDC alleges to be fraudulent. Senator Mwonzora withdrew from the presidential race due to concerns regarding the mishandling of the electoral process by the ZEC. He expressed discontent with the ZEC’s decision to exclude 87 MDC candidates for Members of Parliament, perceiving it as an act of political discrimination.
Subsequently, the ZEC promptly issued a statement clarifying that a presidential candidate has the option to withdraw from the race by providing written notification to the Chief Elections Officer of the ZEC, 21 days prior to the polling day. This announcement was widely interpreted as implying that the ZEC had already printed the ballot papers, with Mwonzora’s name included despite his withdrawal. Conversely, presidential aspirant Saviour Kasukuwere, who was disqualified from the election, does not appear on the ballot papers, despite his case still being pending before the courts. This has led to speculation that the election outcome has been predetermined.
In a statement obtained by Pindula News and dated August 11, 2023, the MDC asserts that the ZEC cannot coerce them into participating in the elections. Reads the statement:
ZEC Can’t Force Us to Participate in a Fraudulent Election
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) issued a statement that our Presidential candidate cannot withdraw his candidature. In their reply to us delivered on the 9th of August 2023, ZEC stated that they cannot “remove” our candidate’s name on the ballot paper.
The impression here is that the ballot paper has already been printed. How can that be, when the case of a presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere was still pending in the courts? We are boycotting the election because ZEC unfairly disqualified 87 of our parliamentary candidates. Further, there has been selective application of the law against the MDC.
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In cases to do with rights of candidates to participate, ZEC has always acted in favor of candidates participating. However, It has acted differently In cases involving the MDC. In fact, it has mounted spirited legal battles against the participation by MDC candidates. This is a matter of historical record. The MDC cannot accept this discrimination by an election management body.
What is clear is that ZEC is punishing the MDC for having challenged the delimitation report. It is insisting on our candidate to remain in the race because they have prematurely printed ballot papers and they know it is illegal. The MDC can never agree to be part of a farce and a sham that this election has turned out to be.
We reiterate that our President cannot be forced to take part in a process that lacks integrity. ZEC knows that it has made this election a serious and monumental fraud.
In May, Mwonzora contested the ZEC delimitation report, alleging that it favoured the ZANU PF party. However, he lost the case on a technicality when the courts ruled that Mwonzora was not affected by delimitation since his constituency encompassed the entirety of Zimbabwe. As a result, voters have the freedom to select presidential candidates regardless of their geographical location. Mwonzora sought a court declaration to invalidate the delimitation, instruct the ZEC to redo the process, and compel President Emmerson Mnangagwa to postpone setting an election date until a new delimitation report was available. If Mwonzora’s application had been granted by the Constitutional Court, the 2023 general elections would have been delayed. Chief Justice Luke Malaba argued that as a presidential candidate, Mwonzora was not impacted by constituency boundaries. Additionally, he questioned why Mwonzora, as the leader of the MDC-T, had not presented sworn affidavits from potential candidates who would have been adversely affected by the delimitation.