The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Insists On Candidate Imposition

The MDC-T national council met in Harare yesterday and officially confirmed that its sitting legislators would be sparred from primary elections when the party chooses candidates for the harmonised general polls scheduled for next year.

The MDC-T insisted that the sitting legislators would go through a confirmation exercise despite an outcry from aspiring candidates that the process was blatantly undemocratic and tantamount to the imposition of candidates.

Only sitting legislators who fail to garner a two-thirds majority confirmation would be subjected to primary elections.

The confirmation exercise can be easily manipulated by the sitting legislators some of whom hold powerful positions in the MDC-T and the inclusive Government.

Speaking to journalists after the national council meeting yesterday, MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti claimed the confirmation exercise was highly democratic and took a swipe at those branding it undemocratic. "There will be primary elections in every contested position. However, for sitting MPs they have to go through a confirmation process," Mr Biti said.

He said those confirmed would retain their seats. The primaries would be held in areas where there were no sitting MDC-T MPs.

"Confirmation is a vote on your performance. In the past mikono mikuru yakadonha like Cde (Timothy) Mubhawu, (Gabriel) Chaibva, (Remus) Makuwaza . . . It is a democratic process. When you go to that confirmation, the people are saying what is your record?"

He said the confirmation exercise was constitutional and not a new thing as it dated back to the year 2000.

Mr Biti also spoke on national elections saying dates for the polls were process driven and dependent on the completion of such things as the constitution-making.

He claimed the dates for the elections could only be announced following consultations between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, saying no one had the mandate to set the dates individually quoting the Global Political Agreement.

President Mugabe told delegates to the Zanu-PF 13th Annual National People's Conference recently that he would soon announce the dates for the elections if parties in the inclusive Government delayed concluding the constitution-making process.

As per its tradition, the MDC-T called for reforms in the security sector, the judiciary and media before elections could be held.

It demanded accreditation of international observers six months before the elections "whether they are from China or America".

The MDC-T claimed the resurgence of politically motivated violence against its members and called for the strengthening of Jomic and alleged partisan distribution of food and farming inputs.

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