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Mwonzora party survives Alliance axe

By Miriam Mangwaya | NewsDay |

Opposition MDC Alliance principals have reversed their earlier decision to expel the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T to pave way for dialogue among political actors forming the grouping.

MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora
MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora

Convener of the Alliance, Mathis Guchutu, who is leader of the Multiracial Christian Democrats party, on July 12, wrote to Mwonzora, informing him that the MDC-T had been expelled from the grouping.

Guchutu accused the MDC-T of failing to follow guiding principles of the coalition and also of masquerading as its leader when he was not discussing issues of concern with other principals.

He also accused the MDC-T party of withholding the funds that were allocated to the MDC Alliance under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

But in a letter dated July 31, Guchutu, on behalf of other principals, made a U-turn and said he would afford Mwonzora an opportunity to resolve the differences with disgruntled parties through dialogue.

“This serves to notify you that we have decided to lift the expulsion with immediate effect,” Guchutu wrote.

“This has been necessitated by the need to engage each other in dialogue and resolve our issues amicably.”

Asked if the letter serves as confirmation that the MDC Alliance now recognised Mwonzora, Guchutu said: “I cannot comment on that, wait to see the demands we will make on the negotiating table.”

Guchutu claimed that he was called by MDC-T top leadership after his first letter suspending the party, which intends to use the name MDC alliance in the forthcoming polls, from the grouping.

However, Mwonzora dismissed Guchutu’s letter, saying: “It means nothing because in terms of Article 5(2)(1) of the MDC Alliance agreement, Guchutu is no longer a member of the alliance.

“He (Guchutu) contested and lost and his boat was sunk by the elections, meaning he is no longer a member of the coalition principal’s forum. He was weeded away, pruned if we can say. So the letter is a nullity since it was written by a person who no longer has the locus standi to perform such a duty. Also it must be understood that there is no provision in the agreement that gives power to any alliance partner or partners to expel another member of the alliance.”

“There are only three parties that are represented in Parliament and these are People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which expelled Tendai Biti and his followers from Parliament and MDC of Welshman Ncube and MDC-T now led by Senator Douglas Mwonzora,” said Mwonzora through his spokesperson Lloyd Damba.

“Unfortunately, Welshman Ncube dissolved his party soon after elections and PDP no longer has any MPs due to the fact that they were recalled by Lucia Matibenga. What it now means is that, there is only one party represented in Parliament and that is the MDC-T, which is the legitimate owner of the MDC Alliance name.”

But MDC Alliance insiders disputed Damba’s claims, stating that the recall of Biti and five other MPs was still pending at the courts following the High Court ruling that those who recalled them were not members of the PDP.

“On what basis does MDC-T own a name jointly formulated by seven parties? Where, in the agreement, does it say so? In addition, there are MPs that are in Parliament whose allegiance is not with MDC-T, but with MDC Alliance led by Chamisa,” an insider said.

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