30 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Minister Mutsekwa Faces Stern Test in MDC-T Party Primaries

Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC-T's national Housing Minister, is one of many cabinet ministers in the inclusive government who is facing an acid test in the party primaries.

Mutsekwa, the current MP for Chikanga-Dangamvura in Mutare, wants to stand again for parliament. But he's one of three party heavyweights in the eastern border city vying for the same seat in the primaries.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that Mutsekwa is being challenged by Brian James, the suspended Mayor of the city, and former footballer and popular lawyer Arnold Tsunga.

The three are among a thousand party officials who have submitted their applications as prospective candidates for the 2013 harmonized general elections. Some of the applications are from party cadres based in the diaspora, like the UK based duo of popular radio disc jockeys Ezra 'Tshisa' Sibanda and Eric 'the general' Knight.

Others from the UK are Taurayi Chamboko, a police officer with the Bedfordshire Constabulary, Rodwell Mupungu, eyeing the Ruwa seat, and Herbert Munangatire Jnr who is contesting one of the seats in Robert Mugabe's home district of Zvimba.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party would conduct primary elections in February, adding that the deadline for receiving applications from prospective candidates countrywide was Thursday.

An insider at Harvest House disclosed that there's going to be an intriguing fight to represent the party during the primaries. No date has been set yet but officials believe the exercise may be held towards the end of February.

'Everything will be clearer on Friday when we get all the applications and see who is being challenged and who is not. It's safe to say most of the sitting parliamentarians are facing competition from other members in party.

'There are reports that other MP's have decided to switch constituencies perhaps fearing they won't get the two thirds majority confirmation to retain their seats. It's going to be very intriguing and I personally see some big guns losing in the primaries,' a party insider said.

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