By Tichaona Sibanda
27 sitting MDC-T legislators face titanic battles this weekend to retain the right to represent their party in the forthcoming elections.
The legislators failed the litmus test during the confirmation exercise when voters in their constituencies rejected them. As a result, according to MDC-T rules, anyone who fails to get confirmed proceeds to primary elections.
Abednico Bhebhe, the deputy national organizing secretary of the party, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that they’re all set for the primary elections this Saturday and Sunday. This follows the successful completion of the confirmation and primary election exercise embarked on by the party in all its 12 political provinces.
Bhebhe also called on all legislators to accept the results of the primary elections in a spirit of peace and concede defeat if they fail to win. He said the best way the sitting MPs can set an example was by showing ‘commitment to upholding the best standards of the election by accepting the results and also by urging their supporters to have a violence-free election and to accept the outcome of the results.’
Bhebhe urged all activists taking part in the internal selection process to maintain peace, no matter the outcome of the poll, adding that stability was more important to the party than anything else.
‘A primary election is not a matter of life and death, an election will come and go but most importantly we need to have the party intact after this weekend.
‘Any sensible party cadre should feel no hate when people decide not to retain them as candidates. They will still remain party cadres, they will remain party representatives as history will always tell us they once represented the MDC-T as MPs,’ said Bhebhe.
A political analyst said winners in the primary elections should be humble in victory and moderate in their celebrations since any attempt to mock the losers can spark unnecessary tension.
This happened after the 2008 primary elections where the losing candidates ended up contesting as independents, a situation that cost the MDC-T dearly. The move split the vote and enabled ZANU PF to win as many as 20 seats that the MDC-T could have won easily without fielding parallel candidates.
Bhebhe ruled out the possibility of losing candidates running as independents again, saying as far as he is aware people in the MDC-T family will not abandon the party just because they’ve lost a primary election.
‘Losing an election does not mean the end of the world. Losing an election does not mean you’ve been expelled from the party,’ explained Bhebhe.
Alexio Musundire, the party’s provincial chairman for Chitungwiza, said it is too early to write off the MPs who lost in the confirmation exercise. With a few days to the primaries, Musundire said the legislators are putting in last minute efforts in their quest to win the hearts of the people to vote them in as their parliamentary representatives.
He said there are those who will be resurrected this weekend and some who will be doomed.
‘Election is not a do or die affair,’ he said adding: ‘We must note that in every contest, no matter how keenly contested it is, there will definitely be losers and winners and no matter how unfortunate the situation might be, the outcome must be accepted by all,’ he said.
Musundire said losing should be a lesson ‘because it provides the losers the opportunity to go back to the drawing board to re-strategise and at the appropriate time, they can make a comeback and excel.’ SW Radio Africa