OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not contest next year’s general election as he will be concentrating on giving support to his party’s candidates nat
MDC spokesman William Bango said this week Tsvangirai would not contest the election in his Buhera North home constituency because he was a national leader whose sphere of interest covered the whole country.
“President Tsvangirai is the party’s first candidate and the whole country is his constituency and therefore he is not going to contest in Buhera North next year,” Bango said.
Tsvangirai contested the violent and controversial 2000 parliament election where he lost to Zanu PF’s Kenneth Manyonda by 10 316 votes to 12 850 amid claims of violence and ballot manipulation.
Tsvangirai, together with another 37 candidates, challenged the result in the High Court, which later nullified it after finding evidence that the poll was not held in a peaceful atmosphere.
Bango said Tsvangirai was not chickening out of Buhera North but would like to help the party’s 120 candidates.
The MDC faces a litmus test as Zanu PF attempts to wrestle seats the opposition won in 2000. Next year’s poll will be held under a different electoral system following reforms which the MDC welcomed although it says a conducive political environment for elections also needed to be created to ensure free and fair polls.
The MDC has completed its verification process to identify candidates standing for the party in next year’s election.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said already five sitting MPs have so far failed to get the support from district executives in their constituencies while other MPs have retained their right to represent the party next year.
Nyathi identified the MPs who have failed to get the backing of their constituency executives as Trudy Stevenson (Harare North), Dunmore Makuvasa (Mbare West), Tichaona Munyanyi (Mbare East), Leonard Chirowamangu (Nyanga), and Sydney Mukwecheni (Mutare South).
“According to the party’s constitution the sitting MPs have to seek a two thirds re-endorsement from the district executives that are made up of the chairpersons of the women’s and youth leagues and if the candidate fails then the person has to contest primary elections,” Nyathi said.
“The party has completed the first phase countrywide and we are now awaiting to go to the next phase which is the primary elections and dates for those would be announced soon,” Nyathi said.
l Meanwhile, the High Court will later this month hand down judgement in the treason trial of Tsvangirai.
Innocent Chagonda, Tsvangirai’s lawyer, yesterday confirmed the ruling would be made on July 29. Tsvangirai is facing allegations of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe and overthrow his regime.