From George Maponga in Masvingo
The MDC Alliance’s prospects of upstaging Zanu-PF in Masvingo in the July 30 harmonised elections have been dampened by double candidates in six constituencies. Efforts by the MDC Alliance leadership to address the anomaly hit a brick wall until the expiration of the ZEC grace period during which a candidate who would have submitted his or her nomination papers is allowed to withdraw.
The beleaguered Alliance is now pinning its hopes on joint rallies by candidates, but developments on the ground point to a possibility of votes being split where all the candidates reportedly refused to back down.
At the Nomination Court, which sat at Masvingo Magistrates’ Court to receive papers from aspiring House of Assembly candidates in the province, the MDC Alliance fielded two candidates each in Zaka West, Gutu North, West and Central, Bikita East and Masvingo South raising the chances of a possible split of votes.
In Gutu West, Messrs Stanley Manguma and Knowledge Mupini both filed papers to represent the MDC Alliance where they will square up with Cde John Paradza of Zanu-PF and Mr Tauya Chinama of People’s Rainbow Coalition.
The situation is the same in Gutu North where Messrs Hamandishe Maramwidze and Juniel Manyere will both represent the MDC Alliance in a contest against Cde Yeukai Simbanegavi of Zanu-PF and Mr Jonah Wakurawarerwa of MDC-T.
Two MDC Alliance candidates, Messrs Crispa Musoni and Ernest Mandigo also square up against each other in Gutu Central where they will battle it out with Cde Winston Chitando of Zanu-PF, Mrs Shillah Bikoloni of Build Zimbabwe, Mr Pias Rungwaro of MDC-T and Mr Last Mafuratidze of People’s Rainbow Coalition.
The Alliance will also have two candidates in Masvingo South after Messrs Lovemore Matongo and Justin Makota both filed papers to represent the party.
They will square up against Cde Claudios Maronge of Zanu-PF, Mr Knowledge Mabvuure of Build Zimbabwe Alliance, Mr Action Haruchenjerwi (Independent), Mr Lawrence Mavhaire (People’s Rainbow Coalition), Mr Victor Vengeyi (Independent) and Mr Simon Senda (United Democratic Alliance).
In Bikita East, two MDC Alliance candidates Messrs Bonface Mudzingwa and Satiya Sengedzeni also filed their papers to represent the party and will contest against Cde Johnson Madhuku of Zanu-PF and Mr Ernest Rambe of the National Constitutional Assembly.
The situation is the same in Zaka West where the two MDC Alliance candidates, Messrs Festus Dumbu and William Zivenge both filed papers. They will slug it out with Cde Ophias Murambiwa of Zanu-PF, Mr Happyson Jasi (Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity), Mr Peter Mahlekete (PRC) and Mr Elvis Mugari (NPF).
Mr Zivenge who is contesting under the MDC Alliance banner with Mr Dumbu in Zaka West yesterday said he was busy campaigning and confirmed that the party’s two candidates were pulling in different directions.
“When I went onto the ground I discovered that my colleague who is also contesting the seat on an MDC Alliance ticket is busy on the ground campaigning, but I have no option except to carry on with my campaign also because Zaka West was allocated to People’s Democratic Party (led by Mr Tendai Biti) under the Alliance,” he said.
Mr Mupini also said he will hang on in Gutu West where he said the seat was allocated to his party Zimbabwe People First under the Alliance.
MDC-T Masvingo provincial deputy spokesperson Mr Simon Mupindu conceded that the double candidature in six constituencies would likely hurt the Alliance in the polls.