MDC councillors defy party directive

Staff Writer

Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) Harare councillors yesterday defied the party’s directive to withdraw from Town House as they turned up to a council meeting.



face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The meeting did not however take place because of the absence of a quorum. A total of 14 out of the required minimum of 16 councillors, among them acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara, turned up for the meeting. At least 10 of them were from the MDC.


Makwavarara this month dumped the MDC to join Zanu PF. The MDC executive on Wednesday announced that it was withdrawing its remaining councillors from Town House. Government has already fired 19 MDC councillors on charges of insubordination.


The MDC leadership announced on Wednesday that the party was withdrawing from all polls until Zanu PF adhered to electoral reforms agreed in Mauritius.


Commentators yesterday welcomed the MDC’s decision to suspend participation in all future elections until the proposed electoral reforms are adopted.


Crisis Coalition chairman Brian Kagoro said that the grouping of civil society organisations supported the MDC’s decision.


“The position taken by the MDC is crucial in that the party seeks to restore Zimbabweans’ sovereign right to freely choose their leadership,” Kagoro said.


“That sovereign right has been stolen by the regime. For instance, the people of Harare chose their executive mayor and councillors in March 2002 but the regime has dismissed half the councillors and the mayor and appointed a bogus commission to support an illegitimate acting mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara.”


Kagoro said Zimbabwe needed to be rid of the culture of violence whilst at the same time implementing the Sadc principles on elections.


National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku has also endorsed the MDC’s stance.


“This was long overdue,” he said. “We have always said that nobody should contest elections under this manipulated system.


“We support the decision taken by the MDC but it must be followed up by action. We must come together and pile pressure on Mugabe for genuine electoral reforms as well as the restoration of the rule of law. They won’t come on a silver platter.”


MDC national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa said his party’s youth wing agreed.


“We are in agreement with the decision. The reality is that contesting elections under the current environment is a waste of time because the results are predetermined,” he said.


“Repressive laws are being used to deny us political space and Zanu PF uses its militia to perpetrate violence. There must be an alternative programme or follow-up to this decision and we are saying more pressure should be piled on the regime to reform.”

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