By Mugove Tafirenyika
Long-serving Harare West MP, Jessie Majome, has announced that she will contest the impending national elections as an independent candidate after withdrawing from the MDC primary elections.
Majome was set to slug it out with microbiologist and former student leader Joanna Mamombe in the primaries, but withdrew at the last minute citing irregularities.
“I have made a decision that I will not represent the party in this election and that is what it means when I say I have thrown my hat into the ring to contest in Harare West,” Majome said.
Insisting that she was still a member of the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, Majome said her decision to withdraw from the party’s primary elections was actuated by alleged manipulation of party guidelines which she feared would not give her a fair outcome.
“I have noted several factors that I cannot ignore, which I have highlighted to my party particularly (national chairperson) Morgen Komichi whom I met today and told him my concerns.
“I highlighted issue which I believe, honestly, constitute manipulation of my party guidelines towards a fair outcome to the extent, in my view, regrettably so, that the will of bona fide and genuine Harare Westerners would be lost in that process.
“The chairperson only told me that he had taken note of my concerns and therefore it is difficult to say that I think they are doing something about it.
“In the light of this, I wish to advise the Harare Westerners that, because they had placed their confidence in me, that I am withdrawing with a heavy heart my candidature for MDC Alliance for Harare West constituency,” Majome said.
Majome, who had served Harare West for 10 years on an MDC ticket, is widely respected for the decent work and engagement with residents in the constituency.
The veteran lawyer and former Women’s Affairs deputy minister in the short-lived inclusive government, announced on Friday that she was withdrawing from the MDC primary elections because the party guidelines had been manipulated.
But her sudden withdrawal triggered outrage from the Harare Westerners, as the residents call themselves, who suspect their adored MP was being set up for defeat by the leadership’s preferred candidate, a rookie, Joana Mamombe.
“In Harare West where I stay, my vote is with … Majome. If she is not on the ballot I will write her name on the ballot and spoil it. That is my inalienable right.
“This will be my first time to spoil a vote since I started voting in 2000. Will convince my family and neighbours to do the same. Can’t stomach this tomfoolery masquerading as democracy,” researcher and governance expert, Pedzisayi Ruhanya wrote on his Facebook after learning of Majome’s withdrawal.
“The challenge in Harare West and MDC primaries in general appears to be lack of leadership to explain processes, address and clarify issues that are in the public interest. In Harare West I prefer Jessie but if she loses to a fair process we embrace.
“With respect the other candidate … Mamombe has not done anything wrong to point at and handled herself well when brothers like us chose to support her big sister and if she wins that is it,” added Ruhanya with a follow-up post.
Political analyst and freedom of expression defender, Rashweat Mukundu urged Majome to stand as an independent in the national elections.
“Hope Jessie stands as an independent and better seat racho riende kuZanu PF…this patronising of voters is sickening.
“In politics you put your best, the experienced and with a reformed and strengthened Zanu PF you need your experienced MPs in Parliament and you don’t promote a system of patronage where you ring fence certain seats for your buddies and then use “democracy” to attack your capable hands.
“It is the kind of stuff that has made Zanu PF unpopular.
“The party (MDC) is bleeding support through unnecessary divisions. .. and I really begin to wonder whether this is a party that is ready to govern and this point shall be further explored more in public arenas and soon,” said Mukundu on Facebook. Daily News