FORMER Industry minister Welshman Ncube’s opposition MDC has moved to select parliamentary candidates in constituencies the party claims were allocated to it under the contentious MDC Alliance agreement.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Ncube was last week left wondering after MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora announced the country’s biggest opposition by parliamentary representation was ready to field candidates in all constituencies, arguing an agreement on the distribution of seats had not yet been reached by the MDC Alliance partners.
In an internal memorandum on Christmas Eve seen by NewsDay, MDC secretary-general Mirriam Mushayi ordered the party’s provincial structures to begin the process of candidate selection.
“You are notified that the process of candidate selection will commence on January 3, 2018 and is expected to be completed by January 31, 2018. Accordingly, you are hereby requested to receive applications from interested candidates and forward them to my office for vetting. The closing date for receipt of applications is January 14, 2018,” she said.
Mushayi warned that no applications from constituencies outside those allocated to her party would be entertained.
“The constituencies allocated to the MDC by the MDC Alliance for which applications are set out below in respect of each province. No applications will be entertained from outside these constituencies allocated to the MDC,” she said.
Ncube, the MDC Alliance spokesperson, argued an agreement was signed and constituencies allocated to specific parties in the coalition, which was disputed by Mwonzora.
“The agreement we signed allocates seats to each party and, as I speak, all parties are working to select their candidates.
We agreed that we will not contest each other from the president to the local authorities and president Tsvangirai is clear on that,” Ncube said on Saturday.
The MDC’s move to begin candidate selection was probably meant to reinforce Ncube’s position.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to issue a stinging rebuke to Mwonzora in the aftermath of reports that the former Nyanga North lawmaker had seemingly disregarded a standing agreement.
But Mwonzora later said he had discussed the issue with Tsvangirai, adding his boss had agreed there was no agreement as yet.
Mwonzora went further to demand of his party’s negotiators to the opposition coalition to conclude negotiations and allow prospective candidates time to mobilise resources and campaign ahead of the make-or-break poll expected in the first half of 2018.
The issue seems to have divided the MDC-T along factional lines, with the party secretary-general now the target of social media barbs and attacks from senior leaders opposed to him.
According to Mushayi, the MDC was allocated two seats in Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Bulawayo, four in Matabeleland North and South, three in Mashonaland East, one in Chitungwiza, four in Masvingo, and six in the Midlands.