MDC-T youths demand parly election quota

MORE conflict is brewing in the MDC-T as party youths are openly demanding a quota be reserved for them in parliamentary elections expected sometime this year.

Report by Elias Mambo

The youths say the quota system would be a way of rewarding them for the crucial role they have played as foot soldiers since the formation of the party in 1999, but their demands have been met with resistance from the national executive and some members of the youth assembly.

While MDC-T Youth Assembly national secretary for information, Clifford Hlatshwayo, wants a certain percentage of parliamentary seats and council wards reserved for youths, his chairperson Solomon Madzore said they would stick to party regulations.

“We demand a quota system along the lines of the gender parity system and our leadership should be aware this is our right,” said Hlatshwayo.

“We are not declaring war; this is a youth national council resolution. We will persuade our leaders and tell them a peaceful and smooth transition in the future can only be realised if the youths have practical experience now.”

Hlatshwayo said youths are arguably the most visible demographic group in the run-up to any election, but account for little in terms of representation and only a quota system could redress this anomaly.

However Madzore said the youth assembly must be guided by party rules and regulations which clearly state there would be no special treatment with regards to criteria for candidate selection.

“The party is very clear on the rules and we have to follow party policy,” said Madzore. “We do not run our association differently from the party so those interested in contesting elections should work hard to battle it out with those already in parliament.”

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said there is no quota system policy in the party and the youths should rally their supporters and openly contest in the primaries.

“Our policy is that there is no quota system but the youths are free to contest elections as long as they meet the criteria in the candidate selection document,” said Mwonzora.

“Youths can demand special treatment but party rules will always prevail over individual demands. Anyone who feels capable is free to contest. They (youths)must fight for the seats.”

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