Tsholotsho North Member of Parliament Jonathan Moyo has mocked the Movement for Democratic Change for what appears to be a change of heart over the 2018 elections so soon after a United States diplomat criticised the party’s “no reforms no elections” policy.
The MDC-T has vowed not to contest any elections unless the government implements electoral reforms. But yesterday, the Daily News reported that the MDC-T would be contesting the 2018 elections because by then it would have forced the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to implement the necessary reforms.
MDC-T secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora was quoted as saying: “We are going to pull ZANU-PF kicking and screaming to implementation of the reforms. The Constitution is very clear on how elections must be run. The Constitution must be followed. The programme we are going to unleash on ZANU-PF and on ZEC come August is going to force reforms in this country. It’s not a matter of choice, it is not whether Mugabe likes it or not. It is what the people of Zimbabwe want. We are going to have reforms come the next elections and MDC is going to win. It’s not up to ZANU-PF. We are not going to leave it to the benevolence of ZANU- PF. We are going to have the reforms whether they like it or not and we are going to force them.”
In a tweet in response to one of his followers, Moyo, whose position as Minister of Information is still unclear, said: “The fact is the MDC T has taken the US msg to heart & we all know they will now not boycott the 2018 elections!”
Gregory Simpkins, a director in the United States House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations, who was on a visit to Zimbabwe last week , criticised the MDC-T stance saying its action was tantamount to having no opposition party.
“We have heard that political parties here argue that it is tough to compete in elections. But we are saying they have to find a way of being effective rather than just saying it is too tough to compete. How can you criticize a process that you are not part of, one cannot criticize a process that they have not even taken time to test,” Simpkins said.
“When you test the process you can say we tried to register our candidates or observers were turned away; you can point to examples. If you are not a part of it at all then it is as good as there is no opposition."
MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu responded through Newsday arguing that the party was not an extension of US foreign policy.
“We don’t think on behalf of the Americans. They are perfectly entitled to hold their own views. We are on the ground here in Zimbabwe and whatever decisions and resolutions that we take are fully and adequately informed by the prevailing local conditions and scenarios…..Whilst we fully respect the Americans for saying what they have said, at the end of the day the buck stops with us, as Zimbabweans, to decide what is good for our beloved country going forward.”