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MDC selects poll candidates

Constantine Chimakure

THE MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai has started selecting potential candidates for next year’s harmonised local government, presidenti

al and parliamentary elections.

The opposition party told the Zimbabwe Independent that the MDC’s national council had since received curriculum vitaes (CVs) for vetting would-be candidates.

The vetting exercise would lead to primary polls before year-end.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday said: “We have received some CVs and others are still coming. We will vet them before primary elections are held.”

However, sources in the party said the MDC had set August 31 as the deadline for the submission of the CVs.

“Potential candidates submitted their CVs to the national council through our party structures. The deadline for submissions of the CVs was August 31,” one of the sources said. “Vetting is currently taking place and primary polls will be held before the end of the year.”

The source said only members with five years experience and above in the party would be considered for selection to contest next year’s polls.

“The primary elections will be held at ward level to elect would-be councillors, while for those with parliamentary aspirations they will be at district level,” the source added. “This is in line with our party constitution.”

A fortnight ago, the opposition party postponed the launch of its local government, presidential and parliamentary polls campaign saying it was awaiting the outcome of talks between it, the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC and the ruling Zanu PF.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, as part of Sadc’s initiative to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, is mediating the talks.

The Tsvangirai formation recently threatened to boycott the polls if the environment is not “conducive for free and fair” elections.

Meanwhile, the Mutambara formation said it would soon select its candidates.

Party spokesperson Gabriel Chaibva last week said preparations were under way for the elections next year.

“Our preparatory teams have already been to four provinces in the country excluding the southern side. We are getting ready with such things as police clearances,” Chaibva said. “Selection of candidates begins with an invite for prospective candidates to submit their CVs for vetting and then the process moves a step further. Where there are two or more candidates qualifying, qualifying firstly with the national laws and the party constitution, a poll is then conducted. So we are still at the CVs stage and vetting stage in some areas.”

He vowed that the opposition would next year field candidates in every ward and constituency in the country.

“We are going to have our primaries soon,” said Chaibva. “Competent candidates will be elected and like what President Mutambara said, we are going to field candidates for the local government and parliamentary polls.”

The two MDC formations decided to contest next year’s polls separately when their talks for a loose coalition collapsed two months ago after they failed to agree on how to select candidates and form a cabinet in the event that they won the elections.

The MDC split in October 2005 over whether or not to participate in the Senate poll of November 25 the same year.

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