NEWS IN BRIEF: Mutsekwa the chosen one

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MDC-T secretary for defence and security Giles Mutsekwa has been chosen as the official candidate for the Dangamvura/Chikanga constituency in parliamentary elections by the party’s leadership.

All Reports by Staff Writer.

Mutsekwa and lawyer Arnold Tsunga had been at loggerheads after both filed nomination papers as MDC-T candidates two weeks ago following the party’s failure to hold primary elections in the constituency.

According to senior MDC-T sources, Tsunga’s candidature would be withdrawn and he will be deployed elsewhere in the party after elections.

“Mutsekwa will be the party’s candidate for Dangamvura/Chikanga constituency after the national leadership resolved that they will go with the incumbent than to hold primaries at this late hour,” the source said.

“Tsunga will be deployed to some new post after the elections and this closes the case. Mutsekwa was going to be chosen because of his string leanings to (party leader Morgan) Tsvangirai’s faction. That’s why he had the guts to stand up on Sunday (in Marondera) before the matter was finalised.”

The MDC-T is divided into two camps pitting Tsvangirai and secretary-general Tendai Biti. Mutsekwa is aligned to Tsvangirai while Tsunga reportedly backs Biti.
Sources say primaries were a battle between Tsvangirai and Biti to place their allies in parliament ahead of the party’s 2016 elective congress.

Sources believe Biti will challenge Tsvangirai for the party’s leadership should the prime minister lose the presidential poll in the July 31 general elections.

Factionalism in MDC-T is based more on class with lawyers, civil society leaders and students coming together under Biti, while Tsvangirai has the backing of trade unionists because of his background as a trade union leader.

Seven disgruntled former party MPs and aspiring candidates filed as independents in the polls set for July 31 after losing primary elections they claimed were rigged.


Parties’ bigwigs avoid elections

ZANU PF, MDC and MDC-T used the recently introduced proportional representation system to give a parliamentary soft landing to party bigwigs and loyalists without directly contesting in the elections. The consolidated party lists for the senate, national assembly and provincial councils filed with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission shows how the main political parties largely used patronage and cronyism to ensure loyalists will be parliamentarians after the July 31 polls.

Senate members, the 60 women’s quota for the national assembly as well as provincial council members are elected indirectly through the proportional representation system after adoption of the new governing charter.

Bigwigs who elected to avoid the ballot include Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo, secretary for youth Absolom Sikhosana, Sydney Sekeramayi, Angeline Masuku, Cleveria Chizema, Monica Mutsvangwa, Oppah Muchinguri, Tsitsi Muzenda, Tambudzani Mohadi, Cain Mathema, Olivia Muchena, Ednah Madzongwe, Sabbina Thembani, Abigail Damasane, Anastancia Ndhlovu and Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, Kumbirai Kangai and Sithokozile Mathuthu. MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe, Consilia Chinanzvavana, Morgen Komichi, Silas Matamisa, Evelyn Masaiti, Ruth Labode, Sekai Holland, James Makore, Matson Hlalo, Patrick Chitaka and Keresencia Chabuka all opted for the seemingly easy route.

The MDC has secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Edwin Mushoriwa.

Positioning on the list is relative to the importance the party wants one in government when it assumes power.— Staff Writer.

Voter registration controversy

SOME people managed to register in Mount Pleasant on Wednesday afternoon despite voter registration officially closing at midnight on Tuesday and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) saying there would be no extension.

It was unclear what criterion was used to register them as some people were turned away at the same centre.

Thousands of potential eligible voters failed to register countrywide after they failed to acquire identity documents as a result of the process moving at a snail’s pace. The major hurdle was the issue of long birth certificates with no ID numbers. People faced with this problem were asked to surrender their original ID cards and rejoin the queue to get new IDs, and then wait to collect new ones before rejoining the voter registration queue again.

People with the correct documents found the process frustratingly slow and chaotic.After spending long hours in the queue, some potential voters were asked to go and register at other centres resulting in them abandoning the process fearing they would encounter the same problems.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network issued a statement on Wednesday demanding an extension of voter registration by another week to cater for those who failed to register despite spending long hours in the queues. .

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