FORMER MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who is now the party’s deputy secretary for international relations, is walking a tightrope as the party leadership loyal to Nelson Chamisa want him fired for calling for an end to Western imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Voice can reveal that Mwonzora, who was part of a Parliamentary delegation to Sweden led by Advocate Jacob Mudenda between the 8th and the 10th of September this month, is in trouble over allegations he called for an end to sanctions on Zimbabwe while on that trip.
In a five-page report that Mwonzora was made to write to party leader Nelson Chamisa, Mwonzora says “the main purpose of the trip was to advise the Swedish authorities on the progress that Zimbabwe has made in instituting key reforms in line with the recommendations of the Mohlante Commission and the recommendations of the EU Electoral Observer Mission of 2018.”
The delegation comprised the Speaker Advocate Mudenda, Hon. Kindness Paradza and Hon. Joshua Sacco representing Zanu PF, Hon. Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga representing MDC-T and Hon. Douglas Mwonzora representing MDC Alliance.
Top MDC officials around Nelson Chamisa have reportedly applied “immense pressure” on Mwonzora to explain his role in the delegation, amid reports that Mwonzora called for Sweden to influence the European Union (EU) and the United States to end sanctions and economic isolation of Zimbabwe, as Zanu-PF would use sanctions as an excuse to cover for corruption and maladministration.
While the EU effectively suspended sanctions against Zimbabwe in February this year, the US maintains a tight sanctions regime, with ordinary Zimbabweans unable to fully access services such as PayPal while top politicians have been declined access to financial services with top commercial banks such as Standard Chartered as the banks fear reprisals and hefty fines.
“Mwonzora has been made to pen a report to Chamisa on the whole trip and what he said and did throughout the two days, including who he met with and for what purpose and benefit to the party,” a source close to the developments told Zimbabwe Voice.
“The plan is to suspend Mwonzora from the party, especially before next week Wednesday,” the source said. “Nelson Chamisa, or his people or both, want Mwonzora gone yesterday.’
The High Court of Zimbabwe is expected to give a ruling on the appeal to a case in which Neson Chamisa was declared an illegitimate leader by the same court early this year. Observers fear that Mwonzora’s camp has been fighting Chamisa through the courts by sponsoring fringe party members from Gokwe to take Chamisa’s legitimacy issues to the courts.
A report written by Mwonzora, which the Zimbabwe Voice is in possession of, goes into detail of what transpired in Sweden as Mwonzora looks set to defend himself against possible expulsion.
Over the two working days that Mwonzora was in Sweden, his delegation had five meetings with the officials from Sweden’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, officials from the ruling Social Democratic Party, the Secretary General of the Olof Palme Centre as well as the representatives of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, says Mwonzora.
In his report stating his side of the story, Mwonzora says he impressed upon Swedish Foreign Affairs ministry officials that Nelson Chamisa was interested in national dialogue provided “neutral people” were appointed mediators.
“I also restated that the Party was interested in national dialogue provided that this was mediated by neutral people. I also indicated our support for laws repealing the indigenization laws that had driven away investment. Crucially I also raised the issue of the involvement of the military in the political life of Zimbabwe,” says Mwonzora.
He further claims that in return, the Swedish officials promised to call for dialogue between Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as to nudge Zimbabwean authorities to fix the currency issues.
Mwonzora also says he met with officials from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which he describes as “a key member of the governing Swedish Coalition… (and) also a sister party to the MDC.”
The SDP, according to Mwonzora, made it clear that they were not interested in investing in corrupt nations such as Zimbabwe.
“They pointed out that Swedish companies were investing in Rwanda as opposed to other African countries because of very low corruption levels in Rwanda.
“They made it clear that Swedish business would not invest in Zimbabwe until they got tangible proof of the implementation of reforms. They called for inclusive national dialogue,” writes Mwonzora in the report to Chamisa.
Mwonzora also reveals that he met with officials from the Olof Palme International Centre, which works closely with the Social Democratic Party in Sweden as well as the Swedish Trade Union Trade Union Confederation.
“On a separate side meeting the (Olof Palme International) Centre advised me that they had plans to invite the MDC Alliance president (Chamisa) to Stockholm latter this year. I assured them that this would be most welcome,” he says.
Mwonzora adds in his report that he thinks the MDC lacks clarity on what it exactly means when it says it wants political and electoral reforms.
He says: “I formed the impression that there tended to be lack of specificity on the part of the MDC in the exact nature of reforms that it needed. There is need for the Party to articulate the reforms it wants to see with more clarity and specificity. Currently ZESN has been asked by government to assemble 30 CSOs to look at the amendment of the Electoral Act and other election related legislation.
“Further the international community especially the EU block are interested as to what extent the recommendations of their election observer missions have IMPLEMENTED as opposed to being merely ACKNOWLEDGED by the government. It is critical that the party keeps a tab of these,” says Mwonzora.
Justifying his being part of the delegation led by Mudenda to Sweden, Mwonzora says the MDC risks having its side of the story not being heard if it fails to grab such opportunities to counter Zanu-PF.
“The Party must never assume that the justice of its cause is self-evident. Therefore it is necessary that the Party is present in these engagement meetings to state its case. Otherwise these meetings will present a one sided monologue,” Mwonzora says.
Apart from Mwonzora, former MDC vice president Elias Mudzuri was last November accosted by Chalton Hwende and other top party officials after he attended a State function called by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government at the State House.
A protest was subsequently arranged against Mudzuri. — Zimbabwe Voice