SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Imposition of Candidates a Recipe for Disaster

The provincial chairperson of the MDC-T for the Midlands South, Lilian Timveous, says the imposition of candidates is a recipe for disaster as her party found out during the 2008 elections.

This attempt at imposition was largely responsible for the poor performance of the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in some areas of the House of Assembly elections in 2008.

The only female chairperson from all political parties in the country to lead a province said the failure by her province to go through primaries in 2008 led to dire consequences that saw the party lose eight parliamentary seats that they could have easily won. Eventually the province only managed to win two out of 12 seats.

'We failed as a leadership in the province. We merely imposed candidates and those that felt aggrieved contested against party nominees and ended up splitting votes that hugely benefitted ZANU PF,' Timveous said. The chairperson has vowed the party will not make that mistake again.

'We are now a unified province. We have very active structures from ward, branch, and district to provincial level. We will soon go for our primaries and anyone wishing to contest as a councilor, senator and MP will have to go through a primary selection,' she said.

After the party congress in Bulawayo in April, Timveous believes they've managed to reunite and reconcile aggrieved party members and supporters, rather than going back to the same path that caused the province to fare so dismally four years ago.

The 39 year-old mother of four warned that while leaders may be forgiving for making mistakes, they cannot be forgiven if they refuse to learn lessons from those mistakes.

'The mentality of suppressing the wishes of the voters to please the selfish agenda of any clique in the party will put the party at another risk of being defeated in the province.

'In democracy, the will of the people is superior to the interest of a few party leaders who are determined to undermine voter sovereignty by imposing candidates on them. If anybody is bent on such a tactless political course again, let them know the danger of pushing their luck too far,' she explained.

She said that anyone who loses the right to represent the party in the parliamentary elections will automatically become a campaign manager for the party nominee. She said this idea was adopted by the province after extensive discussions.

'As a province we have told our President (Morgan Tsvangirai) that we are ready for elections and what happened in 2008 is now a thing of the past. We are now working as a team, whenever we encounter a problem, we move as a team to solve the problem head-on. We don't run away from the problems and this has made us a unified force,' she said.

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