By Mugove Tafirenyika
Chaos yesterday rocked the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC primary elections after the party shelved the internal polls to choose parliamentary candidates until Wednesday.
The postponement was ostensibly to allow the party’s national executive members, who are currently monitoring selection of council candidates, to return.
The MDC has since held primary elections in two of its Matabeleland provinces — Bulawayo and Matabeleland South — which were incident -free after the majority of the candidates were confirmed by consensus.
The party had planned that elections would be held yesterday in Harare, Masvingo, Chitungwiza and Mashonaland East provinces before concluding with Manicaland and Mashonaland Central and West today.
But MDC secretary for elections Murisi Zwizwai yesterday told the Daily News that only elections for council candidates were proceeding after the party resolved to wait until Wednesday until members of the MDC national executive, who are working with the electoral commission in various provinces, to return.
“We will continue with MPs primaries on Wednesday because the majority of national executive members are also candidates and others are even sitting MPs so we thought it was wise to allow them to come back first so that they also get time to campaign before elections are held in their constituencies,” Zwizwai said.
When the Daily News visited some constituencies in Chitungwiza and Harare, only the selection of council candidates was underway.
In Chitungwiza for example, MDC national organising secretary Rangarirai Mutingwende said elections had been suspended because; “In Zengeza East, the sitting MP Alexei Musundire is not available and so is Simon Chidhakwa for Zengeza West”.
“We were told that elections can go ahead in orphaned constituencies where we do not have an incumbent for example in Chitungwiza South. Only ward elections are ongoing,” Mutingwende who is also eyeing Zengeza West constituency, said.
On Saturday, the party held internal elections in Bulawayo province, where four constituencies out of a possible 12 were hived-off to the other alliance partners, leaving it with eight.
The MDC is trying to avoid the chaos that characterised the just-ended Zanu PF primary elections, which were marred by electoral irregularities.
In Bulawayo Central, for example, Nicky Brown was confirmed by consensus to represent the MDC.
The sitting Member of Parliament for the area, Dorcas Sibanda, is going through as the party’s proportional representative MP.
In Njube, Gift Banda won the consensus vote, and so did James Sithole (Makokoba), Jack Banda (Luveve) and Kunashe Muchemwa (Bulawayo South).
Thabitha Khumalo, the sitting MP for Bulawayo East and acting MDC spokesperson, did not seek re-election after going through as a proportional representative MP.
Elections were, however, held for Magwegwe, Entumbane and Mpopoma, but the result were not available at the time of going to print.
Voting in these elections started around midday, without incident.
In Matabeleland South province, the elections were held on Friday.
Out of a total of 13 constituencies in Matabeleland South, six were to MDC Alliance partners, leaving Chamisa’s MDC-T with seven.
Primary elections were held in only two constituencies, Umzingwane and Insiza North, which were won by Khumbulani Moyo and David Masuku, respectively.
In the other five constituencies, the candidates were selected through consensus.
The party will be represented in Bulilima East, Mangwe, Matobo South, Matobo North and Gwanda South by Solani Moyo, Vincent Sihlabo, Zanele Dube, Amos Ndlovu and Akim Moyo, respectively. Daily News