SW Radio Africa (London)

23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Theresa Makone Says She Fears No Challenge in Re-Election Bid

Theresa Makone, the influential MDC-T women's assembly chairperson, has said 'anyone from any party, including independents' is free to challenge her in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Using her Facebook social networking site, the co-Home Affairs Minister dismissed media reports that she was in trouble because the former MDC-T deputy mayor for Harare, Emmanuel Chiroto, would be challenging her in the party primaries.

Chiroto was dismissed from the party last year on allegations of corruption and will not contest the election on an MDC-T ticket. Recent media reports have erroneously suggested Makone faces a stiff challenge to retain her Harare North seat from Chiroto.

'I have been receiving questions about who is and who is not challenging me in the forthcoming elections in Harare North Constituency. This follows an article in yesterday's (Tuesday) press in the 'independent' media that Emmanuel Chiroto is challenging me, and therefore I am in trouble.

'I am worried about journalism that rushes to print without doing its research, for scribes have a duty to inform the public accurately. The gentleman in question is not a member of my party, so what is the beef? Asked Makone on her Facebook site.

She added; 'Anyone from any party, including independents are free to challenge me. Those within the party who feel I have not served the party well within the constituency are also free to throw their names in the hat.'

'I am very happy to be challenged at any time by anyone in and outside the party at the forthcoming plebiscite, so there is no need to make news out of it. I just need everyone to know that a person who does not want to be challenged cannot be a member of the MDC, because it was for that very reason that the party was formed,' she added.

Analysts believe that Makone's 'come and challenge me' mantra puts to rest assumptions that the party leadership is trying to protect the bigwigs and sidelining young turks. This was after the party announced stringent selection criteria for its aspiring council and parliamentary candidates, a move the party said was aimed at weeding out corrupt elements and guarding against infiltration.

Nelson Chamisa, the party's national organizing secretary told SW Radio Africa that they're extremely excited and gratified at the 'rich menu' of candidates who have shown interest to represent them in the primaries.

The party late last year invited applications for prospective candidates for the 2013 harmonized general elections and has received hundreds of application from across the globe.

'We are attracting the best of the best, the crème de la crème from among our communities and society. But it's premature now to give statistics of where the applications are coming from.

'The major focus is the constituencies they want to represent. After the deadline for applications on the 30th January, we will then begin the internal process of validating the applications and this includes scrutinizing and vetting the CVs and the applications,' Chamisa said.

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