MDC Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa has come under fire from his supporters in Manicaland, who claim he has sidelined female candidates in the province and wants to impose a male candidate to contest for the Chikanga-Dangamvura seat in the House of Assembly.
The opposition party failed to hold primary elections on two separate occasions in the constituency as the process was marred by violence and allegations of rigging.
MDC-T Women’s Assembly leader Lynnette Karenyi was battling for the Chikanga-Dangamvura seat against out-going Musikavanhu legislator Mr Prosper Mutseyami.
Ms Karenyi was quick to register on social media her disappointment over the manner in which voting took place.
She also claimed to have approached the party’s national executive with her grievances, which to date had not been addressed. Ms Karenyi was the only female candidate to contest for a National Assembly seat for the MDC Alliance in Manicaland.
Manicaland MDC-T provincial chairman Mr David Chimhini confirmed that no primary elections would be held to select a candidate to represent the party in Chikanga-Dangamvura Constituency during the elections.
“I was talking to the secretary general and he indicated that there will be no primary elections to choose the candidate for the MP,” he said.
Mr Chimhini said the party would hold primary elections to select people who will stand as councillors.
“People will only vote for councillors during the primary elections which are being held today (Tuesday). The issue of the MP was not yet resolved and I am sure that it will be dealt with today or tomorrow by the national executive,” he said.
Asked how his party would approach the Nomination Court without agreeing on a final list of candidates to represent it during elections, Mr Chimhini said: “I think by tomorrow (today) everything would be in order.
“No one would think of going to the Nomination Court before everything is resolved.”
Sources close to the matter say a rift has since developed between Ms Karenyi and Mr Mutseyami’s supporters.
Ms Karenyi’s sympathisers have since lodged a petition to the national executive against the imposition of Mr Mutseyami. The letter, seen by The Herald, is from MDC-T supporters in Mutasa South, Musikavanhu, Chipinge, Mutare Central and Chikanga-Dangamvura constituencies.
“We are rejecting the imposing (sic) of Prosper Mutseyami in any province whatsoever in Manicaland. We the voters take your actions to force us to vote Mutseyami as an attack on the people of Manicaland and we view it tribally related (sic),” read part of the petition.
“Our rejection of Mutseyami is not out of hatred or disrespect to leadership. But it’s based on moral principles, respect to gender and also the fact that we are finding it difficult to forgive him after what he did in 2014 (sic).”
The supporters claim Mr Mutseyami was responsible for violence which broke out in Mutare in 2013 when the late MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai was blocked from addressing a meeting.
They also claimed that he was responsible for other incidents of violence in Chipinge South, Mutasa South and Musikavanhu. They said the MDC provincial executive, in March resolved to reserve the Chikanga-Dangamvura seat for female candidates and going against this would be a direct contradiction of the promises made by Mr Chamisa at the launch of the party’s manifesto.
Mr Chamisa, last week pledged to value the contribution of women towards the development of the country.