MDC-T: Mwonzora slams party rivals. 20 October 2014
“What I find strange is for some brothers to try to make political capital out of my persecution by the state.
“They are behaving as if they arranged this victimisation together with my tormentors.” – Mwonzora
MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, has accused rivals in the opposition party of playing dirty and trying to use his “persecution” at the hands of the State in the race for key posts at an elective congress scheduled for the end of the month.
Mwonzora is battling current organising secretary Nelson Chamisa for the powerful secretary general’s post which was left vacant after Tendai Biti and several other top figures quit to establish a new political party.
The MDC-T will hold its congress from October 31 to November 1, after being forced to bring the meeting forward from 2016 by the leadership dispute which resulted in Biti and the group now calling itself MDC Renewal Team quitting the party.
Chamisa is said to be leading the race for the secretary general’s post in terms of nominations from party structures but Mwonzora, in a statement on his Facebook page, said his rivals were trying to use his brushes with the law to undermine his campaign.
“The abuse of the criminal justice system by the state and Zanu PF to silence the opposition is the most well-known trick in Zimbabwean politics. Indeed it is one of the oldest tricks in the world,” Mwonzora wrote.
“In the history of Zimbabwe, it is now arguable whether any person has been arrested by the state on trumped charges more than me.
“Yet my critics within and outside the party have sought to celebrate this harassment. Instead of being outraged by this clear harassment they have sought to make political capital out of it.
“Some brothers in the opposition have even reproduced newspaper articles from The Herald and other state publications in the ongoing party campaigns to try to demonstrate my unsuitableness to hold office.
Regarding one of the cases he writes: “Sometime in 2003, I was arrested for insulting Mugabe. Although I was detained the state later released me after I raised an issue of whether the offensive word was “foolish” or “fullish” seeing that it had not be written but spoken.
The one pending case relates to allegations of public violence after clashes at a 2011 rally in Nyanga when, according to Mwonzora, Zanu PF thugs set upon his supporters in a bid to disrupt the meeting.
“A fight ensured between the thugs and the villagers attending my rally. I drove to the police to seek their intervention. They refused to help. Later I was arrested on charges of public violence,” Mwonzora said.
“The allegations were that I had approached his picture and asked “rakadii ziso?”(How is your eye?). The case has since been abandoned by the state after I insisted that there was nothing wrong in enquiring about the president’s health.”
All the arrests, Mwonzora explains, were related to his political activism either as a student, or as spokesperson for the former National Constitutional Assembly (NAC), and then on behalf of the MDC party.
“I have been a victim of abuse by the state on the basis of my principled stance against oppression and suppression. Most of these arrests have been designed to silence me or embarrass both me and my party,” he said.
“What I find strange is for some brothers to try to make political capital out of my persecution by the state. They are behaving as if they arranged this victimisation together with my tormentors.
“I faced my accusers in courts of law and I was cleared of any wrongdoing. However this was after my family and I had gone through a lot of suffering.”