BY SILAS NKALA
THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance Bulawayo province has clashed with the party’s national elections directorate (NED) for removing a female candidate from contesting in Mzilikazi’s ward 8 by-elections.
The ward is set to hold a by-election following the death of MDC Alliance councillor, Ronia Mudara on July 13.
A party insider said the Bulawayo provincial executive (PEC) had submitted the names of Thandekile Moyo, Lezina Mohammed and Thandazani Mhlanga, all females along with the male candidates — Edwin Ndlovu, Wesley Moyo, Newman Ndlovu, Mqoqi Ncube and Thulani Ncube.
The executive had agreed that ward 8 should be reserved for a female candidate in accordance with article 5.9 of the party’s smart policy document on women’s rights.
The policy obliges the party to be sensitive to the status of women.
However, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende in an internal memorandum dated October 2 only listed six candidates who qualified.
“Please note that the following aspiring candidates in your province have met requirements set out by the NED for respective vacancies applied for and qualified to be shortlisted on the panel,” the party’s internal memorandum read.
The list of candidates recommended by the NEC included Edwin Ndlovu, Lezina Mohammed, Thandazani Mhlanga, Wesley Moyo, Mqoqi Ncube and Thulani Ncube.
The list excluded Thandekile Moyo and Newman Ndlovu, leading the PEC to accuse NED of not adhering to the party constitution in the selection of candidates.
“Note that Newman contested as an independent against party rules. He is, therefore, advised to apply to the relevant party organs from the branch to the national council to have his status to be regularised for future consideration,” the memo read.
The insider said names of members who filed applications for the ward 8 primary elections were listed, and they were surprised that Moyo’s name was missing.
“The manifest violation of the party constitution is naked in that the NED went on to choose male candidates when in fact Bulawayo PEC resolved to retain ward 8 for a female candidate,” the insider said.
“People’s curriculum vitaes must not be pulled out. The province has been so transparent. It had given NED names of male candidates even through it resolved to retain ward 8 for a female candidate.”
The insider added that NED should make sure that information sent to Hwende is correct as such mistakes put the image of the party into disrepute.
“People were putting blame on SG Hwende, but we have since learnt that he was given an incomplete list by NED. Ward 8 since before 2018 has been for female candidates, with Shillah Musonda Nkomo having been a councillor before Mudara won the 2018 ward election,” the insider said.
“In keeping with the rules of the party, the province had retained the ward for a female candidate to adhere to gender parity. In the past, we had double candidates in ward 28, Pumula and Nkulumane as a result of the ineptitude of the NED led by Morgen Komichi. This cost the party in Cowdray Park ward 28, where Zanu PF’s Kidwell Mujuru won. We were lucky to have won Nkulumane’s ward 24 and Pumula’s ward 17 with our double candidates.”
Bulawayo MDC Alliance provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said the province in its meeting resolved to reserve ward 9 for a female candidate.
“Bulawayo province resolved to retain ward 8 for a female candidate. Other than that I do not have a comment,” he said.
Hwende said Newman was disqualified because he had previously contested as an independent candidate and he needed to re-apply to the NEC for readmission.
“This is why his name was removed from the list. On the issue of the ward being reserved for female candidates that request never reached my office, that is why I do not know about it,” he said.
“But our party policy is that every candidate who qualifies to contest an election must be given a chance because we are a mass party. The province must have directed their request to the NEC since this is not an administrative decision. Everyone who has applied and qualifies to contest must be given a chance.”
Hwende, however, said he would find out from the NED on why Moyo was missing from the list.