Douglas Mwonzora, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) party in Zimbabwe, has been accused of taking an $84,000 bonus from a government grant recently awarded to his party under the Political Parties Finance Act. The grant was part of a $1.4 billion government windfall for 2023, which was shared proportionally between parties that received at least 5 percent of the vote in the last election.
Mwonzora’s decision to take 20 percent of the grant has been viewed as controversial, particularly given the party’s current financial struggles. Employees of the party have accused Mwonzora of pocketing the money while they continue to be owed significant amounts of wage arrears.
Mutandwa Machera, one of the disgruntled employees, has confronted Mwonzora over the matter. Machera has claimed that the 20 percent payout was initially given only to the founding MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who had no other source of income apart from leading the party. However, Tsvangirai’s successors, including Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa, reportedly declined the money and insisted that the party should benefit instead.
Mwonzora’s decision to take the payout has angered some party employees who see it as a betrayal of their trust. “Mwonzora took 20 percent from the government grant that was given to the party,” said one employee. “He did this with us workers not getting salaries for over one year.”
Efforts to contact the MDC-T secretary general, whom Mwonzora referred to for comment, have been unsuccessful. Similarly, the party’s spokesperson, Witness Dube, has not responded to questions sent via his mobile, and the national chairperson, Morgen Komichi, has been unreachable.
The accusations against Mwonzora come at a time when the MDC-T party is already facing significant challenges. The party has been struggling to maintain unity and has recently lost a number of key members. Mwonzora’s decision to take the grant money has only added to these challenges and has raised concerns about the party’s ability to provide for its employees and members.
The controversy surrounding Mwonzora’s actions is likely to continue, with many Zimbabweans expressing outrage over the matter. It remains to be seen what action, if any, will be taken in response to these accusations, and whether Mwonzora will face any consequences for his decision to take the grant money.