Zimbabwe: MDC-T Bigwigs Fall in Primaries

Photo: MDC
MDC's Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada and Nelson Chamisa will contest in this year's poll.

Confirmation of sitting MP's and MDC-T primary elections to choose candidates ahead of forthcoming elections started in Harare yesterday with several party heavyweights and cabinet ministers falling by the wayside.

MDC-T's Harare provincial spokesperson, Senator Obert Gutu said by last night several party heavyweights and sitting MP's had failed the confirmation process, meaning that primary elections open to other candidates would be held in the respective constituencies.

He said among the MP's who had failed the confirmation process by the constituents were Science and Technology minister Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei of Budiriro, Pearson Mungofa of Highfield East, and Willas Madzimure of Kambuzuma.

Gift Dzirutwe of Glen Norah, Elias Jembere of Epworth and Margret Matienga of Sunningdale were also rejected by their constituents.

"In Sunningdale constituency, the sitting Margret Matienga has failed the nomination process," said Gutu. "Out of 204 voters in the district, only 24 voters confirmed her. This means that there will be a primary election in Sunningdale constituency on a date to be announced."

Mungofa is the MDC-T deputy secretary for mines while Madzimure is party secretary for Harare province.

Dzinotyiwei said the failure of confirmation of some candidates including himself, meant the field was open for them to campaign before primaries are held at a later date.

"I did not lose the elections, what was happening today was confirmation of Members of Parliament, where the district council approves two thirds of members to participate, yes we had more than two thirds in this regard and I failed in terms of confirmation," said Dzinotyiwei. "In this round there were six candidates including myself and they had a common agenda. What this means is that the candidates can now campaign in the primary elections."

The MPs who had been confirmed by last night included Paul Madzore of Glen View South, Fanuel Munengami of Glen View North constituency, Social welfare minister Paurina Mpariwa-Gwanyanya of Mufakose and deputy gender minister, Jessie Majome of Harare West.

"Thank Harare West MDC-T family for renewing my mandate to serve Harare West as MP. Free and Fair Elections here we come!," said Majome on her Facebook page. The confirmation process where more than one candidate had been endorsed by the MDC national council began at various centres in and around the city yesterday from 8.00 in the morning.

The party's Organizing Secretary Nelson Chamisa described the process as free and fair and expressed the hope the process would be completed before the end of the night.

"Tomorrow (today) we move on to Chitungwiza and Bulawayo, then Monday we are in Matabeleland South and North, then after that we go to Mashonaland West and East hoping to conclude by the weekend with Manicaland and Masvingo," he said.

In Bulawayo, there are fears of an outbreak of violence similar to a clash two years ago between rival factions fighting for the control of the province. Chamisa said so far there were few challenges experienced.

"We are using translucent ballot boxes and ballot papers approved by the electoral colleges. We are using candidates' lists that were approved by the leadership, with over 900 members of parliament candidates," he said.

Although Chamisa insisted that no senior party official was being spared from being challenged, there are reports that himself, as well as Finance minister Tendai Biti, Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone, Economic Planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada were some of the leaders uncontested.

The confirmation process was still going on in some constituencies by the time of going to print last night.

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