SADC did not tell us to pull out: MDC-T

MDC-T has dismissed the claim that the Southern African Development Community urged it to withdraw from the July 31 general elections during a summit convened by the regional bloc in June.

A South African publication, quoting unnamed sources, reported that SADC advised MDC-T against participating in the polls as a way of ensuring reforms were carried out, but the party forged ahead under the impression that it would still win.

It said the advice was given during a special meeting held in Maputo, Mozambique.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T Secretary for Information, told The Zimbabwean that, to the contrary, SADC wanted them to participate even though it was concerned some key reforms had not been made ahead of the polls.

“It is not true that SADC wanted us to pull out. SADC was actually encouraging us to participate in the elections, but, during the Maputo summit, it was insisting on reforms and that was communicated to all the parties,” said Mwonzora.

He added his party decided to take part in the elections, despite the failure by the tripartite negotiating process involving MDC-T, MDC-N and Zanu (PF), to make media, electoral and security sector reforms “for two major reasons”.

“We had a fear that if we failed to run in the elections, that would give Zanu (PF) a chance to make wholesome amendments to the constitution. We did not want to give them a chance to change the Bill of Rights and provisions regarding presidential terms limits, for example. But then, we also didn’t anticipate that Zanu (PF) would cheat on election day as to it went on to do,” he said.

MDC-T last week vowed to boycott all government institutions in protest over alleged rigging by Zanu (PF) and state institutions that include the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the military.

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