THE main opposition MDC-T has relaxed its election guidelines and given a nod to returnees and newcomers to contest for national executive positions at the party’s elective congress next month.
Party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the development yesterday, saying returnees had been given a special reprieve after undergoing a political rehabilitation programme.
“They (returnees) have been given a special dispensation. People like (former MDC-99 president Job) Sikhala, (former Zanu PF Marondera East MP) Tracy Mutinhiri and others who came back from Welshman Ncube’s MDC would be allowed to contest for positions in the national executive,” Mwonzora said.
A founding member, Sikhala rejoined the MDC-T in March after deserting the united MDC in 2005 together with several other bigwigs following a fallout with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai over the decision to contest in the Senate elections.
Mutinhiri joined the MDC-T in 2012 after being expelled from Zanu PF for being “too close” to Tsvangirai.
Before the latest amendments, the MDC-T had in June unveiled poll guidelines which stipulated that eligible candidates should be have been in the party for a period of not less than five years, of which two years should have been spent in a leadership position.
The party also demanded that provincial executive members needed to have served for two years in the district structures while those who would have served in the provincial structures would qualify for the national executive.
Mwonzora, however, said members who rejoined the party after defecting to Tendai Biti’s Renewal Team in March would be treated like anybody else who have joined the party and would only contest for positions in district structures.
Meanwhile, MDC-T women assembly boss Theresa Makone, who is eyeing the treasure-general’s post, addressed a women national council meeting on Tuesday where she reportedly whipped the women into line for support to land the post.
Makone is said to have promised to ensure the provincial chairpersons would retain their seats if they supported the current top eight, in a move meant to bar Midlands provincial chairperson Lillian Timveous and former Social Welfare minister Paurina Mpariwa who are reportedly vying to chair the women’s assembly.
Makone is said to have also claimed that she was confident of landing the treasurer-general’s post through appointment by Tsvangirai if the proposed constitutional changes get approved. The proposed changes seek to, among other things, give Tsvangirai power to handpick the national executive members.
“Temvious has support, but Makone wants Lynette Kore to take over. By proposing that all members retain their positions, she is trying to block Timveous.
That is not democratic. We are accusing Zanu PF of not being democratic for nominating Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, yet we are also blocking others. How are we going to be difference from Zanu PF?” an insider in the women’s assembly, who refused to be named queried.
Makone and Memory Munochinzwa, the MDC-T women’s assembly spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Buda Masara, Josephine Chitembwe, Spiwe Banda, Margret Matienga, Kore and Munochinzwa are some of the big names Makone reportedly wants to protect. But Mwonzora said all organs of the party would have to play according to the set rules.