Source: MDC-T chefs disagree on candidate selection | The Financial Gazette March 9, 2017
OFFICIALS in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) are haggling over the selections criteria to be used to choose candidates to represent the party in the 2018 harmonised elections.
As a result, two camps have emerged with the first supporting the endorsement of candidates by the national executive while the other is rooting for the conduct of primary elections.
Incumbent Members of Parliament are against the conduct of primary polls for fear of losing their seats. They enjoy the support of party officials who believe that primary polls could open the MDC-T to infiltration by ZANU-PF elements.
But this group faces resistance from members who are advocating for a democratic process to select candidates for the forthcoming polls.
A frustrated MDC-T member this week warned of what he called “a miscarriage of democracy”, should the leadership fail to manage the ensuing crisis.
“You cannot say that approaching elections with endorsed candidates will strengthen the party at the expense of democracy. In actual fact, going into elections without elected candidates weakens the party,” said the MDC-T official, adding that the party leadership should not protect non-performing MPs and councilors.
“We cannot afford to ignore internal party democratic processes because we want to protect a few non-performing deadwood councillors and MPs who form the bulk of (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai’s executive,” he charged.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said the party national elections directorate led by Lovemore Moyo was seized with the matter of coming up with a template regarding how our municipal and parliamentary candidates will be chosen.
“This is still work in progress because the matter will also have to be tabled before the national council, which is the highest decision-making body in between congresses,” he said.
Political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, said it would be ill-advised for the MDC-T to undermine its internal democratic processes.
Ngwenya said candidates’ selection systems must be based on merit.
“…It is the norm that most political parties’ leaders within the structures tend to be close to common people when they get elected into office, but get detached from them after claiming victory. Hence, when election time comes there are high possibilities that the incumbent or those who had been previously voted into power lose out. Despite these factors, primary elections present the opportunity for political parties to prune off lazy office bearers,” said Ngwenya.
Another political analyst, Alexander Rusero, said primary elections were not the best model in the 21st Century because they appear to be giving victory and conferring leadership to vocal candidates who do not have the spine to deliver as expected.
“It is important that the MDC-T balances between democracy and competency. There is nothing bad with those who believe that candidates have to be endorsed as long as it suits the party,” he reasoned.