MDC-T heavyweights’ political careers are hanging by the thread after it emerged yesterday most of them will have to stave off stiff challenges during the party’s parliamentary primary elections kicking off countrywide tomorrow.
REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
Party standing and national executive committee members, including Giles Mutsekwa (Dangamvura-Chikanga MP), Jessie Majome (Harare West MP), Tapiwa Mashakada (Hatfield MP), Elias Mudzuri (Warren Park MP), chief whip Innocent Gonese (Mutare Central MP), Lucia Matibenga (Kuwadzana MP), Paurina Mpariwa (Mufakose MP), Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (Lobengula MP), will fight for their survival in tomorrow’s internal race.
Four candidates will challenge party deputy organising secretary Abedinico Bhebhe for the Nkayi South seat, while three others will fight it out with Youth Assembly president Solomon Madzore to represent the party in Dzivarasekwa to replace Evelyn Masaiti who is not seeking re-election.
However, National organising secretary Nelson Chamisa is safe in Kuwadzana East together with party secretary-general Tendai Biti (Harare East), foreign affairs secretary Jameson Timba (Mount Pleasant) and party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora (Nyanga North), among others.
Chamisa told NewsDay yesterday that there were “no sacred cows” during the primaries to seek candidates to represent the party at the forthcoming watershed harmonised elections.
“Everyone will go through a democratic mill. There was never a national council resolution to protect anyone,” Chamisa said, quashing reports that the party’s national council had resolved to shield party stalwarts from primaries.
“There is a difference between imposing and endorsing. All people, except those who are not challenged in their constituencies, will have to go through a process.”
He said voting for candidates to represent the party in the next polls in “orphaned constituencies” would run concurrently with the endorsement of sitting MPs, while voting where sitting MPs would have failed “endorsement tests” would be done two weeks later.
Mudzuri will face stiff challenge from Paddington Japajapa and Mashakada will fight it out against an unidentified female candidate, while Mutsekwa will face lawyer Arnold Tsunga and human rights activist Farai Aritura.
In Dzivarasekwa, Madzore will face Aleck Masomere and Matibenga will fight it out against Fatima Madamombe in Kuwadzana,while Angeline Chimanga and Mavis Java will wrestle Mpariwa in Mufakose.
Chamisa said some party stalwarts were not challenged in recognition of their outstanding work in their constituencies and government.
“There are also some ordinary members who are not challenged,” he said, citing Misheck Kagurabadza (Mutasa South), David Chimhini (Mutasa North) and Bikita West MP Heya Shoko, among others.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF was yet to finalise the rules and regulations guiding the selection of candidates for their primary elections.