HomePoliticsChaos in MDC primaries

Chaos in MDC primaries

Augustine Mukaro/ Lucia Makamure

THE Morgan Tsvangirai headed MDC faction has plunged into further intra-party squabbling with supporters protesting against criteria used i

n choosing candidates to represent the party in the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Reports from a number of constituencies show that members objected to the handpicking of candidates by senior party leaders.

They also protested against the party’s decision that sitting lawmakers and members of the standing committee should not be challenged, saying this amounted to an imposition of candidates.

Highly placed sources from a number of constituencies besieged the party headquarters, Harvest House, in Harare to protest against the imposition of candidates.

“The standing committee unilaterally decided that the sitting MPs and members of the standing committee would not go through primaries for a ticket to represent the party in the elections,” one of the sources said. “Tsvangirai last week wrote to all provincial chairpersons instructing them to stop any primary contests against sitting MPs and the 10 members of his standing committee.”

The source said Tsvangirai, however, ordered primaries against Timothy Mubhawu and Emmanuel Chisvuure in Mabvuku-Tafara and Budiriro constituencies respectively.

Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the primaries for the two constituencies were held at Harvest House resulting in new candidates being chosen to represent their formation.

“There are now new candidates for the two constituencies,” Chamisa said.

“Shepard Madamombe won the primaries in Mabvuku while Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei will represent the party in Budiriro.”

Sources said Mubhawu and Chisvuure were punished for supporting former chairperson of the national women’s assembly, Lucia Matibenga, when she was controversially toppled from the post in favour of Theresa Makone late last year.

“Tsvangirai’s decision to impose candidates prompted a demonstration at Harvest House early this week, with a number of supporters sleeping at the party headquarters forcing the leadership to order primaries in the two constituencies,” the sources said.

The primary elections have been characterised by chaos and objections in most parts of the country which the MDC considers as “safe seats”.

Meanwhile, in Chitungwiza, Tsvangirai’s faction candidate for St Mary’s, Marvelous Khumalo, was arrested and appeared in court on Tuesday for inciting violence.

Magistrate Patience Ururu granted Khumalo a $250 million bail.

Khumalo is facing charges of inciting violence against St Mary’s sitting MP Job Sikhala who is from the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction.

Khumalo, an employee of Crisis Coalition, was arrested on Sunday with four other MDC members from both formations of the opposition party, Brighton Mazhindu, David Chipunza and Simbarashe Makuwaza.

Khumalo is alleged to have led a group of his supporters in carrying out unsanctioned door-to-door campaigns against Sikhala.

“On February 10 at about 18.00 hours, after an MDC rally at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre, St Mary’s, accused persons in the company of about 50 still at large being led by accused number one, Khumalo, an aspiring candidate for St Mary’s constituency proceeded to house 569, St Mary’s Chitungwiza where Job Sikhala, the sitting member lives singing anti-Sikhala songs and conducting unsanctioned door-to-door campaigns,” reads the charge sheet.

“When the group arrived at Sikhala’s residence, accused number three (Chipunza) started assaulting Mercy Makwasha at number 836 with open hands accusing her of supporting Job Sikhala as she was wearing an MDC T-shirt written ‘MAN OF THE PEOPLE JOB SIKHALA’.”

Sikhala, the complainant in the case, alleged that Khumalo and his supporters threw stones at his residence and damaged a window.

“During the process, some supporters from MDC anti-senate who were being led by accused one (Khumalo) started throwing stones into Sikhala’s residence thereby damaging a window,” the charge sheet read.

“The accused skirmished for about an hour and were dispersed by Mike Chenai, a deputy security officer employed by the Municipality at Chitungwiza, who fired one warning shot in the air and accused persons dispersed.”

lMeanwhile, members of Criminal Investigation Department yesterday raided Crisis Coalition offices and reportedly arrested two civic education officers in connection with the whereabouts of

Pedzisayi Ruhanya of Crisis Coalition said the police officers picked up the organisation’s information officer Thabani Moyo and Zinasu gender and human rights officer Maureen Kademaunga.

“Thabani and Maureen were picked this afternoon and we are worried by the police naivety to believe that the two are Khumalo’s custodians,” Ruhanya said.

Ruhanya added that the police had also confiscated a digital still camera and documents belonging to the two organisations during the raid.

Crisis and Zinasu share offices.

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