The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Faces MPs Backlash

MDC-T Parliamentarians say they will resist attempts by the party's national council to reverse an earlier decision dictating that incumbent legislators should not be challenged in primary elections. MDC-T is seeking to reverse the decision of the national executive following pressure from some powerful would-be contestants who are strongly linked to the party bosses.

They said some bigwigs in the standing committee influenced the decision because they wanted to "pay back" their proxies who had campaigned for them ahead of the party's bloody congress last year.

"They are now confusing us because we had been told that primary elections were divisive and thus would not be held in constituencies we represent," said a long serving House of Assembly member.

"The problem we have is that some people in the standing committee faced a backlash from the people who campaigned for them ahead of the congress last year.

Those people had been promised support at the primary elections by those bigwigs. These bigwigs were already facing resistance on the ground and they decided to reverse the national executive's decision as a survival tactic. We are not going to sit back and watch while some people are trying to privatise the party."

MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa confirmed that all seats were up for grabs.

"We have no special dip tank. There is one dip tank for all the leaders, comrades and members in the party to participate for purposes of generating people's representatives," he said. "Our party is allergic to conspiracy and falsehoods. Democracy is our totem. We are allergic to dictatorship. If you eat the fruit or totem of democracy, you lose all your teeth or they get rotten."

He emphasised that there were no sacred cows with regards to primary elections as all candidates would have to go through primary elections.

Another legislator said the decision to conduct primary elections in constituencies that belonged to the party was going to backfire. "Those people (bigwigs) have been destablising our existing structures. They have been firing people for no reason at all and this has resulted in a number of our people leaving the party," he said.

He said the situation had affected provinces such as Manicaland, Masvi-ngo and in Matabeleland.

"It is unfortunate that we are creating the Zanu-PF like district co-ordinating committee problems. At a time when we should be consolidating support on the ground by supporting our MPs, they are busy disturbing our activities.

"It is very important for us to make sure that where we have seats, we don't have these primary elections because they are divisive and create the so-called factionalism," said a source.

Said a senator: "The problem is that some people in the standing committee have no constituencies and they want to target constituencies they know that the party is guaranteed of winning."

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