THE MDC-T has bent its candidate selection rules backwards to accommodate newcomers and several Diaspora-based party members, a move that is likely to irk long-serving members who had positioned themselves for nomination ahead of elections.
Report by Moses Matenga
The party recently unveiled its election guidelines which contain a clause barring aspiring candidates with less than five years in the party from contesting the elections on an MDC-T ticket.
The development is likely to benefit Zanu PF defector Tracy Mutinhiri, former MDC MP Abednico Bhebhe and several Diaspora-based MDC-T members whose credentials have been questioned by party members at home who feel they should not get preferential treatment.
Expected beneficiaries of the new rule also include former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation disc jockeys Ezra Sibanda and Eric Knight.
Mutinhiri, who served as Zanu PF MP for Marondera East until her expulsion last year, has already been embraced by the MDC-T leadership with the party’s national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa yesterday saying she was eligible for nomination.
“The five-year rule is not cast in stone and the national council can decide on recommendations by the organising department. This goes for Mutinhiri and other individuals as the rule also should consider the best interests of the party and due consideration to special circumstances,” said Chamisa.
He said Bhebhe, who was fired by the Welshman Ncube-led MDC and joined the MDC-T in 2011, was free to contest in the party’s electoral processes.
“The same can be said of Bhebhe who has been there for sometime. Eric Knight has been serving in the Diaspora. It’s not like they have come from nowhere,” he said.
Chamisa said there would not be imposition of candidates as feared by some within the party.
Meanwhile, several top MDC-T heavyweights, among them Tapiwa Mashakada and Theresa Makone, are reportedly facing stiff competition from councillors in their respective wards.
Makone is facing a challenge from the ousted Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto in Harare North, while a group of councillors in Mashakada’s Hatfield constituency are mobilising against him.