The Herald (Harare)

26 November 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Insists On Imposing Candidates

MDC-T yesterday insisted that sitting legislators will not be subjected to primary elections when selecting candidates for next year's harmonised elections. The party wants incumbent MPs to go through a confirmation exercise by their respective constituencies despite an outcry by aspiring candidates that the move was undemocratic.

Only those who fail to garner two-thirds support from their constituencies will go for primary elections.

Addressing a rally in Kuwadzana yesterday, MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa said the selection of candidates to contest in national elections would be two-staged.

"Where there is a sitting MP, we will have a referendum (confirmation exercise) in the constituency," said Mr Chamisa.

"I see there is confusion already being caused by the media on the issue. There would be confirmation of candidates by the constituency first. We are causing somebody to go through scrutiny twice."

Mr Chamisa said such a process enhances democracy.

"No one will be protected by the leadership. It is your right to choose your leaders. No one will be imposed on the people."

Mr Chamisa said he has since discussed the issue with the MDC-T leader.

MDC-T, he said, would only participate in national elections if certain conditions were met.

These included the opening up of the public media, especially radio and television to MDC-T and other political players and international supervision of the elections.

"Elections will be held next year. We will not go for elections when the radio is not accessible. We want secrecy of the votes, ZEC should do its work properly and we want international supervision at least three months before elections. Those are the reforms we want," Mr Chamisa said.

Zimbabwe has successfully held elections since independence without the international observers MDC-T is clamouring for.

Mr Chamisa told the gathering that MDC-T would launching its own economic blueprint called JUICE on Thursday.

JUICE stands for Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment and is aimed at scuttling the black economic empowerment programme being spearheaded by Zanu-PF.

Previous efforts to launch the plan ended in failure.

"This coming week we are launching JUICE which is an alternative to Zanu-PF's indigenisation programme. What we need is to invite investment," he said.

Mr Chamisa claimed that indigenisation --- which compels foreign-owned companies to cede at least 51 percent shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans -- had caused the closure of companies.

Yet on the ground no foreign company has closed as a result of indigenisation.

A number of companies have complied with the regulations and these include Zimplats, Mimosa, Unki, Pretoria Portland Cement, Blanket Mine, among others.

He said MDC-T fully supported the black economic empowerment programme, but was against the manner in which it was being implemented.

When Government embarked on land reforms in 2000, MDC opposed the programme saying it was against the manner in which it was being implemented.

Mr Chamisa said his party would be launching another blueprint for rural areas in January next year.

"We are launching the New Zimbabwe blueprint that will focus on the rural areas. We want to have new settlements in rural areas. We will change our agriculture models. We are talking of agrarian reform," he said.

On Constitution-making, Mr Chamisa urged party supporters to vote yes during the referendum.

He reiterated Mr Tsvangirai's position that the draft should go straight to Parliament before it is subjected to a referendum.

Present at the rally were Zanu-Ndonga's Reketayi Semwayo and MDC-T youth chairman Mr Solomon Madzore.

Mr Semwayo, whose Zanu-Ndonga has lost relevance in national politics, said his party now supports Mr Tsvangirai while Mr Madzore was paraded as a hero.

Mr Semwayo took the opportunity to attack Professor Lovemore Madhuku whom he said was highly educated but "has no vision".

Prof Madhuku has criticised the MDC-T's position on the constitution making becoming a subject of public ridicule by the MDC-T and its partners.

Mr Madzore was recently released from prison on charges of murdering a police inspector in Glen View 3.

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