I was pushed out: Majome

DAYS before its internal candidate selection process roared into life, the opposition MDC-T was last Friday thrown into turmoil after one of its long-serving MPs Jessie Majome pulled out of the impending party primary elections citing blatant disregard for party rules. In this interview with NewsDay Senior Reporter Richard Chidza (ND), Majome (JM) declares she has shut the door on the party’s ticket and is pondering her next move before the elections. Below are excerpts:

By RICHARD CHIDZA

ND: In your notice of withdrawal, you accused the party of not following procedure. Could you please explain?

JM: One of my concerns is the uncertainty around the procedures for the primary elections. It is said any member with a particular plastic card was allowed to vote. The problem arose that it’s not certain who is supposed to vote for an aspiring candidate. The party has not indicated how it will ensure that only people in a particular area will vote. We had people bussed into Harare West to shore up support in the constituency for a particular aspiring candidate. The communication has not been that good.

I fear that if people can be bussed for a constituency meeting, this is likely to recur during the primaries. Harare West has people who traditionally do not participate in party activities, but will vote in the elections proper and there has not been much communication to the people. I have, as a sitting MP, been working in Zanu PF strongholds, which time I should have invested in Harare West.

The people here needed time to be converted to invest their time in the internal party processes. I was in Mt Darwin and recently in Zaka mobilising support for the party, but all of a sudden, the party decided all constituencies were going to be contested and there is no time to talk to people. I am sure the party could have done better. It is unfair to have asked us to go out and shore up support in other constituencies, and while out, there would be contestants campaigning in our areas. We have been all over the place, but are now expected to be contested. There was also a change of the kind of card that is supposed to be used after people used their money to paper cards only accessible to a select few.

ND: Did former President Morgan Tsvangirai promise to protect sitting MPs?

JM: Precisely, that is what he said. He summoned the party caucus and told us that it would be a waste of energies for the party to fight over only 34 constituencies that we already hold. So we were asked to go out and shore up support in areas deemed to be Zanu PF strongholds to help the incoming candidates garner support. Even the current president (Nelson Chamisa), early in his tenure, he said the same and sent us out to campaign in other areas that are considered. So I realised now that I do not have the time. As a middle-class constituency, Harare West would need time to explain to its people that they are supposed to participate actively in party processes. Now we are just weeks before an election and it is impossible to do that.

ND: There are reports that your problems stem from an unwillingness to accept Chamisa as party leader following Tsvangirai’s death. How true is this?

JM: That is news to me. I would be happy to get details from the people who are bringing this narrative. I strangely don’t know where my problems are coming from and I am willing to know. I am a member of the national executive and he (Chamisa) is my president. I am a human rights lawyer and defender, so I respect him, first, as a human being and secondly, as the leader of my party.

ND: Are you going to stand as an independent?


JM: What I have done is to withdraw my candidature from the party primary elections. I have several options, but I am not intending to join anybody. However, as a citizen of Zimbabwe, I am considering and looking at what it is that I want to do. I still want to contribute to Harare West.

I just thought I should let things go for now and think clearly about my next move. I will advise my constituents because everything I do is in their behalf. When I make the decision and I will do so before the coming elections, I will communicate this publicly.

ND: Have you had access to the register of voters or party membership register for your constituency?

JM: No! I haven’t and in my letter to the party secretary-general (Douglas Mwonzora), I argued that there are some people who have access to information regarding the primaries, while others do not have. If there is a voters’ roll that the party has compiled, I would want to see it, so I can approach those people who are eligible to vote and campaign properly. As a potential candidate, I do not have.

My opponents have access to the new cards as well as the membership register. I am curious to know when the voters’ roll was compiled. As of Friday, when I decided to withdraw, I did not have this information and I was worried that my opponents had access to it and they would have an unfair advantage.

ND: Do you think there is a third hand behind your political problems?

JM: I am not sure and I don’t know. I think it’s also important that in terms of the criteria, we are clear to reduce the chances of people feeling cheated. I have five concerns that I raised with the party.

The first being the blatant disregard for the criteria for who is a candidate. There is a qualification in terms of the criteria set by the party, only people who have been members of the party for five years can contest. To the best of my knowledge, my major opponent does not meet this criteria. The second is the issue of bending rules in order to accommodate her (Joana Mamombe). Then there is the issue of seniority, which should have worked to my advantage. But to my shock, my seniority has now been used against me. I understand she has written a letter of complaint to the party, arguing that if the seniority criterion is used, it would disadvantage her. I am a member of the national executive and nominated by Mashonaland Central, now I have been told to go to that province, where I actually do not live.

There is also the issue of shifting parameters around the voters’ roll, who is going to vote or who is not eligible, the whole thing is not transparent. We also have a problem with clear dishonesty by my opponent. My contestant does not reside in Harare West, but I have been made to understand that she used an address where she does not live, in the process deceiving the party. I think that’s dishonesty and the party has accepted this. The chairperson of one of the two wards in Harare West, who is opposed to my candidature, now claims he does not know me and I am not known. He would hold his meetings at my house and now claims he does not know me. I am a member of the national executive and I find that preposterous that someone, who has been holding meetings at my house, now claims not to know me. There is blatant disregard of every rule that is meant to be used to manage this election

ND: Would you say you are scared of competition?

JM: I am a member of this party. It has a constitution and very clear rules and procedures for its internal process including primary elections. I abide by rules, but my problem is they have not been followed to the letter and spirit.

I must qualify and whoever is competing with me should also qualify in the same way as me. I would be ready to contest anyone who qualifies to contest with me. There is not even competition to talk about because this particular contestant does not qualify to be an aspiring candidate for the party.

ND: Do you think there is an inherent problem within the MDC-T of not sticking to procedure or your case is isolated?

JM: I haven’t conducted any survey because I am concerned about my constituency. I know there is an utter disregard for rules of how we should conduct elections. I am dealing with my constituency. I would implore the party to deal with these issues and run the elections in a manner that we have set. If we do not want the rules, let’s change them, but let’s follow what we would have set.

ND: Has the party responded?

JM: I delivered the letter on Friday and have not received any response. I made a decision and my letter was clear.

ND: Would you be willing to go back if your concerns are addressed?

JM: I have made up my mind and also the nature of some of my concerns are long-term. Like, from last year, they have been telling all sitting MPs that they would not be contested and I am not sure how this will be reversed. For me, I am done and they can go ahead and have the primaries. I am no longer interested because as far as I am concerned, they will not be free and fair.

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22 Comments

  1. she jumped gun too early would have voted for her.

    1. I hope since the process is not yet finalized, they will engage and find each other and that she will eventually stand for Hre West Constituency. I personally have respect for J.F Majome

  2. The MDC Leadership must reach out to this disgruntled Cde. They need her and she also needs them . This is not the time for such fights if they all have the people at heart. J.F Majome, please reconsider your decision and go back to the race, you will certainly win and continue the fight for the people of Zimbabwe. You have been there for too long for you to just throw in the towel like that. I hope you will find it in your humble heart that it is really necessary for you to go back to the race and represent your people.

  3. Personally, I feel that every seat must be contested. This eliminates a culture of entitlement which permeates to ministerial levels once a party is voted into power…..and yes, contest where you live – that is the best direct way of contributing to development and upliftment…

    1. I agree with you. She wants to do it the Mutsvangwa-style of being imposed upon the people, which is not democratic. Let there be elections

  4. We Harare Westerners want our Jessie, if joana stays in Glen Norah as we are told can she go to Glen Norah, fine they may rent a room for her to sanitize it but its wrong for the party and we may ask jessie to stand as an independent and hammer this Joana girl. I have nothing against Joana but if she is not from harare west please leave us alone.

  5. Majome speed uri kuiwanza. Who told you you were going to lose. If people like you as you allege then they were still going to vote for you. Anyway what did you want to tell them that you haven’t told them and done for the past two terms. This sense of entitlement to constituencies is undemocratic. By the way if you were serving you constituency well as you allege, people would have not dumped you as you for a new player. The people of your constituency are far above average so they are likely not to be hoodwinked by the political banters. My advise, remain in the party and support the incoming candidate. They will elevate you if at all you have something to contribute to the nation.

    1. OneEyeRepublic

      She indicated that she does not have access to the party voters roll and her opponents have said access. How do u expect her to win?

    2. To be fair the “sense of entitlement” is in effect a party rule of entitlement which has been shifted against her, It should be applied to all. Rules have been broken here just for someone else, It seems if the candidate met the criteria, and the campaign field was not rigged then Jessie could have faced the primary elections, but MDC is the new ZanuPF so we will see more of these now!

  6. Comment…CIO@nikov have a hand

  7. My advise to President Chamisa is, please intervene now not only in this matter but the candidates selection issue as a whole because someone is carefully and slowly pulling the rug under your feet in preparation for 2019 Congress. This is happening everywhere at the behest of this someone. Mr President, you will regret if you don’t act.Mark my words

  8. I belong to your constituency madam. I admire your contribution in parliament but not really sure on your hands on the ground. But because you are a such a professional we need you. My advice don’t rush to media i feel you still have a big place in the famil.

  9. I would vote for Jessie anytime even if she left the party, she is good

  10. Hey Jessie, i am not from Harare west and i am not an MDC T member, but you are one of a very small number of politicians across the board i know by name and face and i like you very much.I am so sure people in your constituency do not need a rally yako to hear your promises,they know you and i am pretty sure they are ok with you. Usatya, dont break your people’s hearts like that just to spite someone.Do you know how much joy this brings to the enemies of the MDC T?,surely you cant be ok with that

  11. One is only voted by those in the party’s structures in order for her to represent her party at polls. The challenge is she is no longer in good books with her district’s party structure ikoko thats is where you submit your cv and they make recommendations . Izvo zvekuti Joana does not stay in Mabelreign is not true and Jessie knows that. She may not own a property but stays in Mabelreign and is in the party structures for well over 5years. You were so uncaring Jessie by forgetting those who made it possible for you to stand in Mabelreign.
    No body pushed you out, but you pushed yourself out. All those simpathising with you are too smart to swim in political waters, tough luck for you.

  12. Haana kugara achida kubuda here. Even ZANUPF has not started campaigning.

  13. majome with due respect ur actions is not a solution.if u not part of the solution then u are part of the problem.iwe waifanira kuraiser maconcerns iwayo just like what chamisa is doing zvogadziriswa tono vhota n pliz hatikuvhotere nekuti taita meeting kumba kwako asi kuti unokodzera zvowonekwa musi wevote.imi mdc chamisa put ur house in order handiti kaaa ndohwa khupengaa kwaro

  14. i personally respect this madam, her contribution is very important. ngaadzoke muparty for the benefit of all people

  15. This is a die hard Zanu Pf/ Mugabe mentality that believe i should be in power at whatever cost. Whats new, is she going to deliver in potholed littered Harare West. She is just a power hungry monster like Mugabe who needs to be thrown to the dustbins come election time!!! Give other a chance pls…

  16. Primary elections are not bad unless if you fear losing and if you do not like democracy. Anyone is free to try independent contesting but unfortunately the majority of people these days vote en-bloch and usually vote for a party not a person. MDC can put a baboon in Harare west and could still win.

  17. Just wondering why Kamisa makes so much noise about ZEC’s voters roll when he cannot create one for his own party’s elections?

    1. THE ANALYST I AM ALSO WONDERING WHY THE ISSUES ABOUT ZEC ARE BEING RAISED NOW?
      WHY DID THE MDC LEAVE THESE ISSUES UNTIL THE EVE OF THE ELECTION, WERE THEY NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT ALL THE PARTIES CRAFTED?

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