Police stop Mwonzora tour


Annahstacia Ndlovu

Bulawayo—Police last Saturday barred the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader, Douglas Mwonzora, from conducting a walkabout in Bulawayo.

Mwonzora had planned to lead his delegation in the visits in the second capital, visiting Nkulumane Complex, Sekusile and Cowdray Park on 6 July to interact with traders and provide residents with the MDC-T programme of action.

In a prohibition order signed by the Nkulumane district commanding officer, Chief Superintendent Chrispen Kapita, the police cited lack of manpower for the ban.

Kapita claimed the police were preoccupied with “State functions”, but did not specify the official events.

Mwonzora convened a hasty presser at the Royal Hotel Media Centre where he condemned the walkabout ban.

“We made an application for a walkabout in five districts and the police barred me and only allowed us to hold a meeting at the (party) headquarters (in Bulawayo),” Mwonzora told journalists at the news conference.

Members of his delegation, however, managed to travel to the scheduled districts where they met party supporters and informed them about the ban on Mwonzora.

The police spokesperson for Bulawayo, Inspector Abednico Ncube, professed ignorance over the Mwonzora district tour.

“I am not aware of that incident and did not get a report to that effect,” said Ncube.

The MDC-T leader said his party had obtained a magisterial order to regain the provincial offices that had been seized by a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) faction sympathetic to Nelson Chamisa and awarded US$90,000 in damages.

Mwonzora, whose party completely pulled out of last year’s elections citing an uneven playing field, was at one time considered a favourite of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

As he fought for the control of the MDC following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, he was seen as benefiting from State security support in his fight against the more popular Nelson Chamisa.

Soldiers and the police were deployed to support his faction during fierce fights for the control of the party Headquarters, Richard Tsvangirai House, resulting in his MDC-T taking over.

In addition, the government gave money under the Political Parties (Funding) Act to Mwonzora’s faction despite the fact that Chamisa’s grouping had the majority of opposition lawmakers.

With overt sympathy from the government and parliament, Mwonzora caused the massive recall of MDC-Alliance legislators from parliament as the MDC-T leader seemed to favour talks with the ruling Zanu PF.

At the same media conference, Mwonzora congratulated the British Labour Party for its win against the Conservatives at recent polls in the UK.

British politics shifted after Britons resoundingly voted to put an end to 14 years of Conservative rule.

“We congratulate our sister party, the Labour Party of Britain, for winning the elections. As you may know, last year we went to Liverpool to attend the annual policy conference of the Labour Party and we interacted with our friends. They were preparing for the elections and they have won,” said Mwonzora.

He said the MDC-T hoped to join the Labour Party in its victory celebrations and looked forward to attending the British party’s annual conference next September.

Mwonzora said that the elections in the UK had opened a new political chapter, adding that it might provide Zimbabwe the opportunity to rejoin the Commonwealth.

Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth in December 2003 following an announcement of its suspension by the club mostly comprising former British colonies.

The Commonwealth was concerned by increasing of human and property rights violations in Zimbabwe.

“We are going to do everything in our powers for Zimbabwe to be part of the Commonwealth again. Joining the Commonwealth opens up trade for our business people and new avenues for sports people to participate in the Commonwealth games. It helps our students with Commonwealth scholarships.

“We, as MDC, do not subscribe to the isolation of our country. We want our country to be integrated into the world.” Mwonzora said.

He vowed that his party would oppose the reported bid by President Mnangagwa to extend his tenure beyond 2028 when his second five-year term ends and rapped parliamentarians who were supporting it.

Mnangagwa, however, told party supporters in Mutare late last week that he would retire in 2028.



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