A CLANDESTINE plan by some MDC-T MPs and top party leaders to ring-fence their constituencies during primary elections has stirred controversy, disgruntlement and conflict in the opposition party, NewsDay Weekender has established.
Insiders said the elections directorate was planning to protect its sitting MPs so that they would not be subjected to primary elections, a move that is likely to face rejection from the majority of the aspiring candidates.
“They have also gone to the extent of barring junior party members from challenging seniors in primary elections. This is not only undemocratic, but exposes the party to defeat,” a highly-placed source said.
A member of the standing committee told NewsDay Weekender that the proposal was made at its meeting on Tuesday. But some vowed to put a stop to the plans, calling for the party to open up the candidate selection process to all eligible members.
“Some of these people have been performing badly and, therefore, can’t be protected by such unfair rules. If Zanu PF can have fair primaries, who are we as the MDC not to have them?” another official queried.
The plan will see top members like Jameson Timba, Murisi Zwizwai, Morgen Komichi and others sail through as party candidates without a contest.
The party has indicated that it will consider holding primaries as a last resort because internal polls are divisive, instead opting to select candidates by consensus.
But party spokesperson Obert Gutu quashed the claims, saying MDC-T would not impose candidates and would conduct primary elections soon.
“The national elections directorate will soon be meeting to put the final touches on the candidate selection template. One thing, though, is for sure,” Gutu said.
“There will be no candidate imposition because we are a democratic political party. Wherever possible, we will encourage candidates to be chosen by consensus, but where this fails, primary elections will become inevitable.”