Mwonzora withdraws from presidential race
Harare (New Ziana) – Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Douglas Mwonzora on Tuesday withdrew from this month’s presidential election, alleging unfair treatment by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the body in charge of running elections in the country.
But he said the party’s parliamentary and local government candidates in the August 23 elections will still remain in the race despite his withdrawal.
Mwonzora told a press conference the withdrawal was mainly in protest at the barring of 87 of the MDC’s parliamentary candidates from contesting in the elections.
The party’s candidates were disqualified by ZEC to register to stand in the elections over fee payment, a position upheld last week by the electoral court after the MDC appealed against the decision.
“We are not going to be part of the baptism, blessing of this sham. This election is a farce. We have seen massive disenfranchisement, mass disqualification of a good number of people,” Mwonzora said.
After the party’s 87 candidates were blocked from running, he said he would not be able to control parliament even if he won the presidential vote himself.
He alleged that the MDC was being ‘unfairly’ treated because it had earlier taken ZEC to court, and lost, over the delimitation of new constituency boundaries for the election.
“There is no doubt why the MDC is being treated in a different manner from other political parties, it is because the MDC took ZEC to court over delimitation. The delimitation that we fought against is now in force and its effects are now clear on this election. Right now as we are speaking, ZEC is busy changing boundaries of wards and constituencies. It has added more than a 1,000 more polling stations because delimitation was invalid.”
Mwonzora said he had already notified ZEC of his withdrawal, which now leaves nine candidates in the running for president in the election.
Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, seeking a second term in office, is the leading contender.