CHAOS and violence rocked the opposition MDC-T’s consensus-building meetings to select candidates for various constituencies yesterday, as top party officials reportedly attempted to impose their preferred candidates in certain areas.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
MDC-T national chairman Morgen Komichi said they would soon investigate the violence and bring offenders to book.
“On violence, we are regretting that and we will definitely investigate if one of the candidates is involved, then we are going to mete justice on him or her,” he said.
“The reason for consensus is to allow people to interact and democratically negotiate to come up with one candidate. This is the only first stage of our candidate selection and if they fail to agree, then we are going to another process which is primary elections.”
Informed sources told NewsDay that disgruntled candidates in Glen View, Zengeza West, Mufakose and Glen Norah constituencies, among others, pulled out of the process and threatened to petition party leader Nelson Chamisa to stamp his authority and stop imposition of candidates by his lieutenants.
The late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s daughter, Vimbai Java, had to be escorted out of the venue by her sympathisers in Glen View South, as her rivals turned violent, accusing her of seeking to impose herself in the constituency.
Party members demanded that Vimbai should defend herself in a primary election against four other candidates.
In Zengeza West, chaotic scenes also saw one of the aspiring candidates, Job Sikhala, posting unsavoury messages on his Facebook wall, accusing some unnamed party officials of plotting to push him out of the race.
“Leaders must never be afraid of the people. The roadmap to our internal processes was clearly enunciated by the secretary for elections as approved by the national council and executive. Consensus by candidates must be done in the open, with district assembly, not five people,” he said.
Sikhala claimed that five party officials visited the constituency prior to the meeting claiming to be members of the district management committee tasked to lead the consensus-building meetings.
He said the officials later fled after party members confronted them.
In Mufakose, Mabvuku and Gokwe Central, the process was also aborted after the candidates failed to reach an agreement, paving way for primary elections.
One of the council candidates in Glen Norah, Farai Hwenjere, was allegedly blocked from entering the consensus meeting for unknown reasons.
In Kuwadzana East constituency, talks between party deputy treasurer Charlton Hwende and deputy youth leader Shakespear Mukoyi, who are both eyeing the seat, stalled as they could not agree on who should stand down.