Heads to roll at MDC-T re-run

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Fireworks are expected on Saturday at the MDC-T provincial elective congress re-run amid indications that heads are set to roll in the faction-riddled party.

MDC-T held the first elections last Saturday at Mucheke Stadium boycotted by other members from a rival faction which had called for a postponement to early April.

There are two factions in Masvingo, one allegedly under Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, the Gutu South MP, and another led by Masvingo urban MP Tongai Matutu.

Last week, Mukonoweshuro’s faction, which consists of Bikita East MP Edmore Marima, Senator Misheck Marava, Chivi losing candidate Bernard Chiondegwi, Masvingo West MP Tichaona Mharadze, among others, boycotted the elections citing allegations of vote buying and other irregularities.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is said to have called for a re-run to avert a potential split.

The re-run is going to be held at the same venue, amid indications that both factions had revised their strategies.

“We know under a fair environment we will win, that is why we boycotted last week’s event,” Mharadze said.

But Jefryson Chitando, from Matutu’s faction, who retained his position as director of elections in last week’s dismissed polls, said Saturday’s results, would be a replica of last week.

“The people spoke last week, and they will speak again this week. There will not be major changes, if any,” Chitando said.

Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe, Sekai Holland, Edie Cross-who presided over the previous ‘sham’ election- and Dr Henry Madzorera are expected to preside over today’s elections.

Meanwhile, in Bulawayo the MDC-T was on Thursday putting final touches to its preparations for its potentially explosive provincial elections set for today at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) offices in the city centre.

Tensions are running high in the party ahead of the polls which will see incumbent chairperson Agnes Mloyi, Mzilikazi senator Matson Hlalo and Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals fight it out for the top post.

The party’s national deputy spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo said they were considering engaging the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to maintain peace during the elections expected to be volatile.

“We will look for police officers to beef up security and ensure peace in tomorrow (Saturday)’s elections. I can’t tell who will be the candidates because there is still ‘horse trading’ going on,” she said.

District elections in Bulawayo have been riddled with violence as factionalism deepened in the province.

Khumalo said they expected Saturday’s elections to be orderly to avoid a re-run like what happened in Masvingo.

“The people of Bulawayo know their leaders and should come out to vote them into power orderly.

Tomorrow (Saturday) should be the day to show that they know their leaders, leaders who have worked well for them,” she said.

The current chairperson Mloyi said the candidates’ list would be finalised Saturday.

“I am sure there will be no violence and the elections will go on well,” she said.

She could not confirm if she would be contesting.
Last week the MDC-T’s department of information released a statement confirming that the national congress will be held in Bulawayo’s Barbourfields Stadium from April 30 to May 1 under the theme, “United, Winning – The People’s Covenant to Real Change.”

The National Organising Secretary, Elias Mudzuri said the party had drafted a Code of Conduct that would guide the holding of elections.

Mudzuri said under the party’s Code of Conduct, vote buying, violence, defamation, intimidation, tribalism, nepotism and other misdemeanors were liable for disciplinary action.

The party said Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was expected to be the guest of honour at the Congress.