BY SILAS NKALA/BLESSED MHLANGA
The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance’s Bulawayo provincial executive has resolved to field all the eight councillors who were recently recalled by the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe in the upcoming by-elections.
Khupe’s MDC-T had by last week recalled 84 councillors throughout the country, paralysing most local authorities dominated by the MDC Alliance.
The most affected were Harare, Bulawayo, Marondera, Gwanda, Beitbridge and Victoria Falls. The recalls effectively crippled Chamisa’s party which controlled the majority of the country’s 32 urban councils.
Yesterday, MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial executive committee resolved to field all the eight recalled councillors and to hold primary elections in ward eight which fell vacant following the death of councillor Ronia Mudara in July this year.
Party provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza confirmed the developments, adding that they were confident of reclaiming the seats despite the unfavourable political environment.
“The Bulawayo provincial executive met on Sunday and unanimously agreed that all the recalled councillors, save for those under disciplinary hearings, should contest in the impending by elections. We are saying these councillors did not do anything wrong and were simply recalled for supporting our president (Chamisa). They were voted for by the people and we are confident that the people will vote for them again,” Chirowodza said.
He, however, expressed concern over the confusion likely to arise after Khupe indicated that she was now MDC Alliance leader and her candidates would contest the forthcoming by-elections on an MDC Alliance ticket.
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“This boils down to the impartiality of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) if they will allow a party to use its competitor’s name during elections. But the truth is that Zec has rules which clearly state that no competitor must use or impede another by using its name as this constitutes obstruction of the other.
“If they are going to be allowed to use the symbols and names used by others this creates a lot of confusion,” he said.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti and his old party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have approached Parliament seeking to stop the planned recall of the recently elected Harare mayor Jacob Mafume by Khupe’s party.
“Parliament has already made a decision that the MDC Alliance is a coalition and has allowed the MDC-T to recall Members of Parliament, while we disagree with that position, we have a responsibility to protect the PDP which is now part of the party called the MDC Alliance,” he said.
Mafume’s position hangs in balance after Lucia Matibenga’s PDP faction last week wrote to Local Government minister July Moyo recalling him from council.