THE MDC Alliance project faces imminent collapse as its key principals clashed yesterday after MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced plans to field candidates in all contested constituencies and wards throughout the country, leaving his coalition partners in the cold.
Tsvangirai, who is MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate, defended his party position, saying there was nothing amiss in fielding candidates in all constituencies since the coalition partners had not yet agreed on the distribution of seats.
The alliance comprises seven partners — namely MDC-T, Transform Zimbabwe, Multiracial Christian Democrats (MCD), ZimPF, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Zanu Ndonga and MDC.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said his party was already on the ground selecting its candidates, with priority given to women and youths.
“There hasn’t been an agreement on the distribution of seats yet, but there is an agreement as to have an alliance,” he said.
“Therefore, our candidate selection will be for all the constituencies and wards until a time when there is agreement on the distribution of seats. When we agree, we will have to drop other candidates whose seats are distributed to other parties.”
The development has left Tsvangirai’s coalition partners seething with anger, with MDC leader and alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube accusing the former Prime Minister of being an untrustworthy partner bent on perpetuating Zanu PF’s misrule.
“The agreement which was signed specifically states which constituencies have been allocated to which of the seven parties in the alliance,” Ncube said.
“There is 100% agreement as to which constituencies will be contested by which party. Therefore, it will be untrue for anyone whoever it might be to suggest the absence of an agreement on the allocation of the constituencies.
“What is true is that the negotiators are still negotiating the allocation of wards and that part has not been completed yet and they intend to complete it immediately after the holiday.”
Transform Zimbabwe official Justin Makota echoed similar sentiments, describing the MDC-T as a “dishonest” broker. “There is agreement regarding the distribution of the seats. So what is happening is that the MDC-T is showing some dishonesty and they are showing that they are not prepared to hold this alliance together until elections and that is the challenge that we have,” he said in a statement.
“This dishonesty has always been there and we know there are different camps within the MDC-T, some who would want to see the alliance working, and others wanting to see it dead.”
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said as far as they were concerned, there was a standing agreement on who takes what and it goes further to support Tsvangirai as the coalition leader and presidential candidate.
ZimPF leader Agrippa Mutambara said his party was given 30 parliamentary seats by the alliance, adding that nothing had changed as far as he was concerned.
But Mwonzora said the MDC-T was going ahead with the process of selecting and fielding candidates in all the country’s constituencies and wards.
“We are in the process of selecting candidates in all the wards and constituencies. We will try as we can to have 50% representation for women and 20% representation from the youth. This is a double advantage if a person is both female and/or a youth,” he said.
Mwonzora added that the party would not shield bigwigs and unpopular legislators.
“We are not going to shield anyone. The decision on who will represent the party will come from the people, so there is no one who will say I have protection. It’s all up to the people. Our presidential candidate is Morgan Tsvangirai, he hasn’t changed and he was endorsed at the congress.”
Yet MDC-T national secretary for elections Murisi Zwizwai dismissed Mwonzora’s claims as not representative of the party’s position.
“Nothing has changed and the position of the party, adopted by the national council, is to stick to the alliance. The party is not dissuaded by those nicodemus remarks.” Newsday