23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Parties Gear for Elections

PARTIES are gearing for national elections scheduled for this year even though President Mugabe has not yet announced the dates.

The Zanu-PF Politburo is meeting in Harare today with the new Constitution and elections preparations expected to top the agenda.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday confirmed the meeting of the party's supreme decision-making body outside congress.

"We will be meeting tomorrow (today) and will obviously get a brief on the constitution on what has been agreed," said Cde Gumbo.

"I am also certain that issues to do with elections will also be discussed because it's now time that we get down to serious business on that one."

The MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube is also positioning itself for the polls.

The Herald is reliably informed that the MDC secretary-general, Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, has written to all the party's provinces inviting applications from candidates aspiring to contest the elections.

"She wrote to all the party's provinces last week inviting the applications from aspiring councillors and legislators. Preparations for elections have genuinely started," a source in the party said.

The MDC deputy spokesperson, Mr Kurauone Chihwayi, confirmed the development yesterday.

"Provincial structures were written to by the secretary-general of the party. The applications would be vetted and the whole process is expected to have been concluded by February 14," he said.

Mr Chihwayi said primary elections would then be conducted to choose suitable candidates to participate in the elections.

The MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti has also written to all the party's provinces requesting a list of all candidates interested in contesting in the party's primary elections.

The MDC-T is sparing its sitting legislators from contesting in the primary elections unless they fail to garner a two-thirds majority confirmation by their respective constituencies.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora yesterday told The Herald the party was readying for elections.

"The party is preparing for elections. The structures of the MDC are being conditioned for the elections. We are preparing election messages. We are also preparing even beyond the elections," he said.

Mr Mwonzora dismissed as "cheap politicking" indications that some political parties like the MDC led by Prof Ncube and a political party reportedly linked to Mr Mutumwa Mawere were making inroads in perceived MDC-T strongholds like Chitungwiza, Midlands, Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces.

There are disgruntlements in the MDC-T particularly in Chitungwiza where dismissed councillors are reportedly weighing their political options. Yesterday the Prof Ncube-led MDC was boastful that its support base was steadily growing in perceived MDC-T strongholds.

"We have been receiving a number of people from the MDC-T not only from Chitungwiza but also in Matabeleland, Bulawayo and the Midlands. There have been some movements from that party," Mr Chihwayi said.

Principals in the unity Government last Thursday resolved the disputed areas that had stalled the completion of the new constitution clearing the way for a referendum and elections.

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