THE two MDC-T factions have selected some of the candidates to represent them in the forthcoming harmonised elections but further intra-party divisions have halted the processes in some constituencies.
Last week the Mr Nelson Chamisa-led MDC-T faction was in the Matabeleland region to try and dialogue with the potential candidates. The party’s national secretary for elections Mr Murisi Zwizwai and the deputy national treasurer Mr Charlton Hwende, however, managed to get consensus in just three of the seven constituencies they will contest in Bulawayo.
The biggest casualty in the process is Bulawayo Central legislator, Ms Dorcas Sibanda who reportedly threw in the towel, giving in to the imminent challenge posed by the party’s Bulawayo provincial treasurer, Ms Nikki Brown. Ms Sibanda is the party’s provincial deputy chairperson and has been Bulawayo Central MP since 2008.
Party sources revealed that the team managed to get consensus in Njube-Lobengula, Bulawayo Central and Nketa constituencies while in Makokoba, the current councillor, James Sithole was confirmed as he had no challenger.
In Njube-Lobengula, Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Councillor Gift Banda was confirmed as the party candidate; Ms Brown in Bulawayo Central and in Nketa, Mr Phelela Masuku retained the right to represent the party in the upcoming elections.
The party will be forced to conduct primary elections in Bulawayo South, Mpopoma-Pelandaba, Entumbane-Emakhandeni and Magwegwe constituencies.
As for the list of candidates to represent the party in the local government elections, sources said the provincial executive has been tasked with bringing party members to consensus failure to which they will then be forced to take the route of holding primary elections.
Contacted for comment, the party’s acting national chairperson, Mr Morgan Komichi said he was satisfied with the progress they were making but said in the constituencies where candidates fail to reach a consensus they will hold primary elections this coming weekend.
“To date our teams have been to the Matabeleland provinces, Midlands and Mashonaland West and I can tell you so far it’s been a tremendous success. Take for example in Bulawayo Central where two big guns were set to square off, one of the candidates decided to withdraw after having a sit down with her rival.
“We have also scored success stories in Shurugwi North and a number of wards in Midlands Province. I am positive by Monday (tomorrow) we might be announcing the list of candidates that have been confirmed and also where primary elections will be held, our target is that we have our final list of candidates by end of next (this) week,” said Mr Komichi.
Questioned on why the party was avoiding going for primaries straight away, Mr Komichi said they were avoiding unnecessary tension which will be caused by candidates campaigning against each other.
“What is happening is that we are giving candidates a chance to interact among themselves before they go to contestation.
“Through this interaction one gets a sense of self-consciousness, maybe noting that they are not so popular on the ground hence they note that they would be wasting their time contesting and further causing unnecessary divisions within the party.
“However, we are clear in terms of our roadmap that in the event that candidates fail to reach a consensus we are going straight to contestation which will be through the primary elections,” he said.
The Dr Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T has also confirmed a number of candidates to represent the party in the elections, with the party confirming that they will field candidates in all the 210 constituencies.
Party sources revealed that they had completed the selection process in Bulawayo Province and some constituencies around the country.
In Bulawayo the party is expected to field; Clr Tamani Moyo (Luveve), Dr Khupe’s personal assistant, Mr Witness Dube (Magwegwe), Mr Khaliphani Pugeni (Pumula), Mr Mbuso Sibanda (Mpopoma-Pelandaba), academic Dr Samukele Hadebe (Nketa), lawyer Mr Kholwani Ngwenya (Bulawayo Central), the party’s deputy national organiser, Mr Alfred Ncube (Njube-Lobengula) and Dr Mandla Nyathi (Makokoba).
The party’s spokesperson, Ms Linda Masarira, said the selection of candidates was an ongoing process and they would soon be announcing the final list.