Covid-19 is no excuse for – Douglas Mwonzora said all was under control when 158 members of Council wanted to make input into Congress planning
Dear Dr. Khupe,
I read that the formation of the MDC-T that you lead has decided to postpone the MDC-T Extra Ordinary Congress to elect a replacement for the late Dr. Richard Morgan Tsvangirai, which a virtual (Whatsapp) National Council meeting of your formation had endorsed, and your excuse being the Covid-19 pandemic. However, really speaking, you had all the time to prepare for an Extra Ordinary Congress, but you chose to play silly politics, exposing your lack of leadership qualities in the process.
Before I go into the argument why the timeframe provided by the Supreme Court should not be tempered with, I would firstly want to state that your whatsapp National Council meeting was a meeting of your faction, because in the first place, many people who are not in your faction were left out of the supposedly MDC-T 2014 Structures National Meeting. To say you are postponing an MDC-T Extra Ordinary Congress suggested by the Supreme Court is very misleading because the 31 July 2020 gathering that your faction has been planning for does not qualify for such, because a genuine MDC-T Extra Ordinary Congress can only be communicated by the National Council meeting to which every person who was in the MDC –T National Council as at 14 February 2018 is invited, provided it makes the quorum required by the Party’s Constitution. As this important step had not been done, it is not about postponing an MDC-T Extra Ordinary Congress that was suggested by the Supreme because none had been planned constitutionally in the first place. If anything, the appropriate Council meeting has to sit, and when it does, discuss how to plan for the Extra Ordinary Congress in the remaining time.
Regarding the extension of the period provided by the Supreme Court to have the Extra Ordinary Congress organised, Covid-19 is not an excuse. To begin with, the Supreme Court Judgement was delivered during the lockdown, and it still required the Extra Ordinary Congress, which is meant specifically to elect one person, to be held under the conditions in place at the prevailing time the judgement was pronounced.
Covid-19 is real, and all the guidelines need to be observed, and if Council had met, it could have discussed various methods that could have been used to hold the Extra Ordinary Congress. And remember that an elective Congress is a process which starts with nomination of candidates by provinces. Section 6.8.1 of the 2014 Constitution provides that the Party has the following Provincial Councils, each which can nominate a candidate: Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Midlands, Matebeleland South, Matebeleland North, Bulawayo, Harare and South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America External Assemblies. The Constitution notes that these provinces have equal rights, powers, privileges and obligations subject to this constitution.
You have already had massive access to all the places you had wanted to go with your entourage to mobilise people, and there is photographic evidence of you addressing meetings in homes as well as in rural areas, and even visiting the resting place of the late Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai with a large entourage. I would like to assume that you obtained exemption letters to have been holding all those meetings, or else you could have been arrested. Zanu PF has been distributing such letters to all persons who attended its meetings, so I do not see any reason why the relevant authorities would have denied you exemptions letters to mobilise people at district level, which you have already been doing in any case.
The purpose of the Extra Ordinary Congress is to hold an election, and an election does not necessarily have to be with all people gathered in one physical place. The voting can be done at district level, and rather waste time meeting with MDC Alliance partners who have nothing to do with the Extra Congress, time could be used wisely undoing the illegal and unconstitutional expulsions and recalls from Parliament your faction has done to members of a different formation of the MDC, and then a true National Council meeting can be held to start the Extra Congress process to be concluded within the specified time. Please think outside the box and find solutions.
You could have averted this had you listened to the request by a reported 158 out of 191 members of the 2014-T National Council who met on 21 May 2020 to hold a meeting on June 6 2020 to address issues around the Supreme Court Judgement. Senator Mwonzora, whether he was speaking in his capacity as the MDC 2014 Secretary-General, or in his capacity as your faction’s Secretary-General, rubbished the request saying it was “a little too late” since another National Council meeting had already set the date for the court directed extraordinary congress. As I said earlier, a faction’s National Council meeting’s decision is not binding on the Extra Ordinary Congress, so your faction has no one to blame but itself for failure to plan for a success Extra-Ordinary Congress which was ordered suggested during the Covid-19 era, to happen in the same Covid-19 era as it was well known by then that Covid-19 was to be with us for a while. If the time spent creating situations that have caused so many cases to be pending in the courts had been used productively, Congress would have been achieved within the stipulated time frame. And even now, infighting among your faction leaders as witnessed at Harvest House when two of your aides Kudzanani Shumba and George Rice were assaulted and barred from entering the building is continuing to derail progress. I have warned you before Dr. Khupe, you were set up to fail.
Your faction claims to be the champions of the rule of law and constitutionalism, so that has to be seen implemented as we prepare for an Extra Ordinary Congress. You are under watch, the world has to know your double standards. God is watching.
To end on a Covid-19 notes, please be reminded that Malawi has just had a national election, and while we cannot expect the poorly led and managed Government of Zimbabwe to hold simple by-elections, an election of one person involving less than 5 thousand voters shouldn’t be a big deal for people with brains. I hope those with intelligent minds who have read this will know what to do.