MDC-T insiders revealed this week that some MDC-T bigwigs, who include national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, Sekai Holland, Elias Mudzuri, deputy chairman Morgan Komichi and Piniel Denga are opting out of urban constituencies being hounded by new contestants.
Sources said the primaries would be hotly-contested with aspiring candidates in the urban constituencies accusing the sitting MPs of failing to deliver despite having been there for a long time.
“I can confirm that there will be stiff internal primary contests and as a result we are seeing an exodus by senior MDC-T leaders running away for safer havens in rural constituencies where they are well-known as courageous individuals who have managed to wrestle power from Zanu PF,” said one top official.
Of late MDC-T has been torn apart by infighting as witnessed at a Marondera rally that turned violent. Before its congress last year, the party was rocked by internal strife and violence. Investigations into the incidents are underway.
Violence broke out at an MDC-T rally in Marondera where the party’s provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, Denga was severely assaulted by party youths before his vehicle ran over two supporters as he attempted to flee the venue. Several supporters were seriously injured, some sustaining broken limbs, and hospitalised in Harare and Marondera.
Chamisa could neither confirm nor deny that he is eyeing his rural Gutu seat but only said he is “a village boy” who loves visiting his rural area, referring to his frequent weekend visits to Gutu.
Sources also claim that there is a growing chorus in MDC-T circles concerning MPs who are now going for their fourth terms.
Komichi confirmed that he is ready to contest in his rural home, Sanyati, to wrestle the seat from Zanu PF. “That is true, I will be contesting in Sanyati and I am ready for the internal primary elections and we are putting systems in place so that these elections are run smoothly,” he said.
Sekai Holland has been busy in Mberengwa South where she has been donating maize seed, bicycles and groceries.
Warren Park legislator, Elias Mudzuri, has also shown interest in his Zaka home area, opting out of a stiff primary election in his constituency.
Denga, who is also Mbare MP, said he is being forced to dump his constituency by the pro-Zanu PF youth militia-group, Chipangano which has turned Mbare township into a no-go area.
“I am not willing to leave the city but my constituency has become a no-go area. I was recently banned from Mbare and beaten up by Zanu PF youths. I cannot even supervise my CDF projects. If I walk alone I will be beaten up just like a criminal by those people,” Denga said.
Insiders also said there were serious divisions in the MDC-T over when primary elections should be held, with some senior members saying they should be in June.
“There is a push from a certain group of individuals who want an early election so contenders get less time to campaign,” said the source.
Sources said as the primaries approach, there could be more MDC-T officials running for rural constituency cover, creating opportunities for new contestants and a new crop of MPs for the party which would be battling to maintain its urban stranglehold against Zanu PF that has been wiped out of towns and pushed back to the rural areas. MDC-N would also be fighting to pick up urban seats. –– Staff Writer.