The Sunday Mail
FRESH turmoil has rocked MDC-T over party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa’s move to protect sitting MPs from contesting party primary elections.
The Sunday Mail understands that MDC-T received applications for aspiring MPs and councillors on March 15, 2018. Sitting legislators were exempted from contestation.
The opposition party’s national elections directorate will meet on Tuesday to consider the applications which the national council will either endorse or reject on Thursday.
An aspiring MDC-T MP, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said, “The race to represent the party in elections must be open to everyone who wants to contest. Why should Chamisa protect the sitting legislators? There must be a sinister agenda.”
Information at hand also shows sitting MPs were asked to pay US$1 000 each to the party as part of the deal to ensure they do not have to go through primaries.
Those angling for constituencies not presently held by MDC-T paid US$150 each as “application fees” to contest primaries. Prospective urban councillors parted with US$50 per head and those going for rural council seats forked out US$10 each.
“This is also a move trying to close doors for some people who may not be able to pay the application fees. The MDC-T is a democratic party so why come up with strategies to protect certain politicians; it’s for whose benefit?” queried an aspiring legislator.
Now sitting councillors also want to be exempted from primaries.
Insiders say Mr Chamisa was uncomfortable with primary elections because he wanted to consolidate his power base as he battles vice-president Dr Thokozani Khupe for control of the opposition party.
A faction linked to party secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora is said to be pushing for universal primaries.
MDC-T spokesperson Ms Thabitha Khumalo told The Sunday Mail yesterday that Thursday’s national council meeting would map the way forward regarding primary elections.
Pressed on why sitting MPs were exempted from primaries, Ms Khumalo fumed: “Why should we spend much time talking about what’s going on in the MDC-T? We should spend more energy discussing economic issues not these trivial issues about primary elections.”