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Tsvangirai must monitor MDC primaries

A NUMBER of aspiring MDC candidates who participated in the ongoing primary elections are crying foul. Many are accusing those tasked with presiding over primary elections in Harare and Chitungwiza of doing a hatchet job in order to protect the interests of pa

rticular individuals.

I am a founding member of the MDC and I know the MDC constitution gives clear guidelines on how primary elections should be conducted. But these principles are being ignored by those who find such democratic requirements a stumbling block in their quest for power. As a loyal party member my heart bleeds when I see reckless and selfish men and women deliberately trashing the constitution by holding primary elections in secret venues.

I have seen unpopular individuals being declared winners when less than a quarter of the required voters turned up for the primary. What does it mean for democracy and fair representation if 18 people vote where 50 people are supposed to? What happened to the mandatory MDC quorum? I am told in some cases ghost voters have been allowed to vote by sleepy presiding officers. When candidates have protested they were blantantly ignored.

In one ward in Chitungwiza, an aspiring candidate who withdrew from the race went on to vote for another candidate when his withdrawal was supposed to nullify his voting rights. Verification of ballots was not permitted while money changed hands openly on the verandah of the primaries venue.

Some who were supposed to vote were not invited to the elections while others were barred from voting by marauding youths and biased presiding officers who I am told were paid to make sure all sitting councilors in Chitungwiza were retained despite their unpopularity with the larger community.

While MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai trusts his lieutenants to do a thorough job when tasked by the party, those delegated are busy letting him down by allowing themselves to be bought in order to keep unpopular and corrupt councilors who have done nothing for the party and the people of Chitungwiza in the past five years other than stealing and running down the dormitory city.

If he is serious about winning even in the so-called safe urban areas Tsvangirai must monitor the primary elections closely to ensure that democracy prevails and the correct people are elected to represent the party not these corrupt opportunists using money to protect their small fiefdoms.

If Tsvangirai allows MDC primaries to be hijacked by pretenders in the party he will have nobody to blame when his election team fails to pull the critical vote in the face of divisions and a new Zanu PF formation led by Simba Makoni.

Joseph Kanyandura,

Ward 17, Chitungwiza.

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