THE MDC-T elections directorate is reportedly struggling to finalise its candidate selection process and has already missed its Tuesday deadline to complete the exercise.
This comes amid reports that some sitting MPs were refusing to have their seats contested.
MDC-T spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo chose to downplay the matter yesterday, saying the vetting of potential candidates was an ongoing exercise and the party has set a new deadline of April 25.
“The election directorate was mandated by the national council to carry out this exercise and after that they will compile their list, which will be submitted to the president. The deadline for everything is April 25,” she said.
A source said the directorate agreed that all sitting MPs should not be contested, but elections director, Murisi Zwizwai rejected the claims, saying: “No such resolution was made. Everyone will be contested as far as I know.”
MDC-T acting chairman, Morgen Komichi said the party’s intelligence system was closely monitoring the process to ensure they were no infiltrators.
“If anybody is saying there is a moratorium on the holding of primary elections in constituencies with sitting MPs, they are basically putting the cart before the horse. It’s just speculation by individuals, who think they may not make it through the vetting process by our security.
“We are careful not to be infiltrated by the enemy, hence, we have a very elaborate vetting procedure. The people, who will vote in our primary elections are members of the party, as well as all structures,” he said.
Komichi said the MDC-T primaries will be open to all card-carrying members with a voters’ roll already in place for the process.
Among the contentious seats that were reportedly settled by the election directorate is the Harare West pitting sitting legislator, Jessie Majome against Joanna Mamombe.
Another fierce fight looms in Kuwadzana East, which fell vacant following Nelson Chamisa’s recent elevation to party leader and presidential candidate. MDC-T youth leader, Shakespeare Mukoyi and deputy treasurer-general, Charlton Hwende are both vying for the seat.
In Manicaland, reports have it that Musikavanhu MP, Prosper Mutseyami was eyeing Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency, which the party’s women boss, Lynette Karenyi is also targeting.
“The idea is to get consensus, but if that fails, there is nothing that we can do except call for primaries. In some cases, especially, for women, disputes are easily solved by the proportional representation clause, but it is not easy to negotiate. However, the majority of sitting MPs and councillors will not be contested, as there is consensus that they must continue,” a member of the party’s elections directorate, said.
MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora has reportedly dumped Nyanga constituency, where he was trounced in the 2013 election and is now set to be appointed Harare senator.
Zvizwai (Harare Central), Amos Chibaya (Mkoba) and several other top party officials, among them youth leader, Happymore Chidziva (Highfield West), who facilitated Chamisa’s ascendancy to power are reportedly not being contested.
Khumalo will go for proportional representation.
Khumalo said she had surrendered her Bulawayo East seat to the MDC Alliance and is eyeing a new seat under the party’s proportional representation quota.