MDC dithers as election date nears
Zvamaida Murwira and Farirai Machivenyika
THE countdown to the July 30 harmonised elections enters the homestretch today when the Nomination Court sits to accept successful candidates countrywide. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and several political parties yesterday expressed their readiness for the exercise set to run from 10am to 6pm in all provinces.
It, however, remains to be seen how the MDC-T Chamisa and MDC-T Khupe factions will navigate their wrangle over the party name and symbols that has spilled into the High Court.
The Chamisa faction, in particular, was yesterday also reeling from a High Court ruling ordering a primary election in Ward 11 as well as the announcement by incumbent Harare West legislator MS Jessie Majome that she would file her papers as an independent.
Ms Majome’s decision follows the turmoil that characterised the opposition party’s primary elections, with insiders saying more disgruntled members were set to follow Ms Majome’s path.
“There had been reports that I had been offered a Senate seat or Proportionate Representative in the National Assembly. It is simply not true that the MDC-T ever negotiated with me regarding my decision withdrawing from the sham election. At no point did the party negotiate with me.
‘‘At no point did the party even acknowledge the issues or that they were addressing the irregularities that led to my withdrawing. That is if unless that Press conference was the negotiation. I have made a decision to run as an independent,” said Ms Majome.
“I disagreed with the party because the party’s guidelines were vandalised . . . right now there were no primary elections that were held in Harare West in respect for both councillors and Members of Parliament yet there were contenders.”
On Tuesday, the High Court barred MDC-T candidate for Ward 21 in Mabvuku from contesting on July 30 and ordered that a primary election be held urgently for the local authority seat.
High Court Judge Justice Clement Phiri ordered the holding of a primary election in Mabvuku, two days before the sitting of the Nomination Court, leaving MDC-T without a candidate for the council seat unless they quickly comply with the order.
Justice Phiri ruled in favour of an aspiring councillor, Mr Blessing Nhende, who was elbowed out to allow the imposition of Mr Barnabas Ndira.
The problems in MDC-T have been attributed to cronyism manifest in imposition of candidates and vote-buying
Sources in MDC-T said the party leadership panicked about the simmering tension and centralised the signing of nomination papers as it was being done only by the party’s national chairperson Mr Morgan Komichi and secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
The two were still signing papers by late last night, sources said.
The party also moved in to pacify women’s assembly chairperson, Mrs Lynette Karenyi who was elbowed out by Mr Prosper Mutseyami during primary elections characterised by violence a fortnight ago.
Mrs Karenyi will now stand as a Proportionate Representative candidate while Collins, brother to the late party leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai failed to make it as a Senator as the party wanted to accommodate Mr Mwonzora.
Some of the MDC-Alliance candidates facing facing rejection from MDC-T include former Energy and Power Development deputy Minister and ZimPF member Munacho Mutezo (Chimanimani West) as they prefer local businessman Mr Canaan Matiashe.
Others include nomadic politician Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti (Mwenezi East) and that tension saw the resignation of provincial chairperson for Masvingo, Mr James Gumbi.
In Harare, supporters in Glen View South have petitioned Mr Chamisa over the imposition of Mr Tsvangirai’s daughter Vimbai, as the constituency’s representative.
In Kuwadzana East the party has imposed Mr Mr Chamisa’s friend, Mr Chalton Hwende, who was being challenged by youth activist Mr Shakespeare Mukoyi.
Meanwhile, ZEC said they were ready for the sitting of the courts.
“ZEC is prepared for the sitting of the nomination courts set for tomorrow (today) and is finalising its logistical arrangements,” ZEC said in a statement yesterday.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu said the ruling party was prepared for the sitting of the courts.
“We are very ready, the provinces have been processing nomination papers for all the candidates and this follows our statement yesterday (Tuesday).
“The provinces have been assisting candidates fill up the nomination papers to ensure a smooth flow and avoid unnecessary delays tomorrow,” Cde Mpofu said.
The MDC Thokozani Khupe camp said its candidates were busy with their papers countrywide.
“We are very ready and our candidates spent the whole day at the various nomination venues countrywide filling their papers so I can say we are good to go.
“We also lodged the papers of our presidential candidate Dr Khupe and as a party I want to say we will contest all the seats from local authorities, national assembly, provincial councils and Senate,” the party’s deputy president Mr Obert Gutu said.
The fringe Zimbabwe Development Party and the Voice of the People have pulled out of the elections alleging they would not be free and fair.
The two parties are led by Mr Kisinoti Mukwazhe (ZDP) and Moreprecision Muzadzi (VOP).
They recently lost their case at the Constitutional Court after they sought to be funded under the Political Parties (Finance) Act despite not having attained the threshold to qualify for funding in the last election.