Source: MDC-T bans party primaries – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 27, 2017
MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly banned holding of primary elections to choose party candidates to contest next year’s general elections, saying candidates will be nominated through consensus.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Addressing the party’s Harare executives at the weekend, Tsvangirai is reported to have said primary elections were divisive and had to be dispensed with.
“Our biggest problem, as a party, is the division of supporters and this is caused by elective congresses and primary elections,” he reportedly said.
“Now I want to tell you, this time around, there will not be any primary elections,” he said.
“We will select our candidates through consensus.
“Those who want to contest in a particular constituency must discuss among themselves and come to a consensus.
“I am waiting to hear the names of the odd ones, who will say they cannot find common ground [and] I will ask them if they are MDC or Zanu PF.”
Tsvangirai is reported to have further said he would personally nominate Senate candidates.
“As regards the Senate, this time, I will choose representatives on my own,” he said.
“I will personally vet those whose names will be put forward because I know every MDC cadre and their contribution to the party from the formation of the party.”
Tsvangirai is said to have addressed party structures in Chitungwiza on the same issue.
The Harare structures were addressed at the Nelson Mandela Hall at the Exhibition Park.
The MDC-T leader’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed Tsvangirai’s position on internal processes to select candidates.
“People are picking certain parts of the president’s position on this issue, but in its broadest sense, he is arguing for consensus,” he said.
“But where consensus is not possible, then primary elections will be held.
“However, according to our 2014 congress resolutions, primary elections are no longer confined to party structures, but will include every paid-up member in a constituency or ward depending on the specific representative being chosen.”
Analysts have argued that the imposition of candidates and factionalism cost the MDC-T the 2013 election, which was contentiously won by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
The party’s elections secretary, Murisi Zwizwai said consensus was meant to guard against divisions.
“It is not a big issue, but get hold of Tamborinyoka,” he said.
“However, we have a template that will determine how party candidates will be selected ahead of the elections, but we have ideas that will guard against dividing the party over candidates.”
But party spokesperson, Obert Gutu described reports that Tsvangirai had effectively banned primary elections as “rumours”.
“We don’t normally comment on rumours and speculation,” he said.
“As the official national spokesperson of the MDC-T, I would like to advise all stakeholders that they shouldn’t waste their time following fictional and misleading stories.
“At the appropriate point in time, the MDC-T will formally advise all relevant stakeholders on the way forward regarding the choosing of our local authorities and parliamentary candidates for the 2018 elections.
“In the interim, please just dismiss these rumours and fabrications with the contempt that they deserve.”
Zanu PF has also struggled to deal with the issue of imposing candidates and primary elections in the past.