MDC to go for primaries

HARARE - All aspiring parliamentary candidates for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in the forthcoming polls will be subjected to a “referendum” and primary polls, national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa has said.

Addressing a rally in his Kuwadzana Constituency yesterday, Chamisa said his party will not impose candidates either as legislators or councillors on the electorate.

He said there will be no sacred cows.

“It is a right for you to choose your candidate; no one is going to be imposed,” Chamisa said.
“We are in the process of finalising the dates for primary elections in every province.

“We are not going to protect anyone and everybody must be confirmed by the party’s members, that is the branches, district and national executive.”

He told thousands of MDC supporters who braved the rain at Kuwadzana 4 in Harare that this was the directive from Tsvangirai. He said the MDC leader has accepted this position.

“I discussed this issue with president Tsvangirai and he agreed that we must have primary elections,” Chamisa said.

The primary elections will be in two stages. In constituencies where the party does not have a sitting representative, normal primary polls will be held, while in constituencies where the party has a sitting representative, the candidate has to be confirmed first, failure of which they will have to be subjected to the next stage of primary polls.

“You go through a confirmation process or stage which is the first level, which is basically a referendum on the sitting Member of Parliament beyond which you then have to go through a selection process with other candidates who have an interest in a constituency,” Chamisa said.

“It’s actually a worse form of primary election. A sitting MP will have to go through elections twice. There will be double scrutiny.”

The Kuwadzana East MP said all sitting MPs will have to secure confirmation from two thirds of the voting bloc.

“The whole thing was to cure the mischief of vote-buying and elite democracy,” he said.
 
In the past, the district executive used to confirm sitting MPs, but the party has decreed that all MPs be subjected to a “referendum” by the people.

“In the past the confirmation was by the district executive, now we are emphasising the supremacy of the branch - members of the constituency will actually vote,” he said.

He said paid up members will confirm the sitting MP, and the process will be broader and more inclusive.
“So there will be primaries for everyone,” he said.

Prior to the announcement, they was a huge outcry from party supporters after the party had indicated that sitting MPs and councillors were not going to subjected to primary elections.

Chamisa urged his supporters to be registered as voters to enable them participate in an election he described as a “final stage for the democratisation of Zimbabwe.”

He said his party was ready to participate in the next elections as long as they are in accordance with Sadc principles and guidelines on free and fair polls.

He mocked disgraced and ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, saying his downfall signified a beginning of a new Zimbabwe.

“This is Zanu PF for you,” Chamisa said. “They have been supporting him all along but now they have dumped him. I can tell you these are the signs from God that we are going to have political change.

“He used to move around preaching politics, but he is finished. He moved with bodyguards, but today even his bodyguards are now poor, they are struggling,” Chamisa told the cheering crowd.

The jovial throng welcomed youth leader Solomon Madzore, who was released from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison two weeks ago after a yearlong detention in remand prison.

Madzore told the rally that his stay in prison has strengthened his resolve. He said he was eager to see the Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe sent to his rural home after the next watershed polls.

“We are not going to allow Mugabe to steal our votes like he did in 2008.We want him to pack his belongings from State House with his wife Grace to his rural home in Zvimba and retire from politics,” Madzore said to shouts of “ndizvo” or “correct”.

Zanu Ndonga chairman Reketai Semwayo told the rally that his party was behind Tsvangirai’s bid for the Zimbabwe presidency.

He revealed that his party does not have a president and it will back the former trade union leader in the coming elections.

“Zanu Ndonga has a working committee which has a chairman, I am the chairman of the party but our president is Morgan Tsvangirai, we are behind him,” Semwayo said to deafening applause from MDC supporters.

The MDC rally was attended by the top leadership from the Harare province, which included deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Obert Gutu, Labour and Social Services minister, Paurina Mpariwa, Glen View South MP Paul Madzore, and Senator Morgan Femai among others. - Xolisani Ncube and Chengetai Zvauya

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