Several MDC-T bigwigs, among them sitting Members of Parliament and vice president Elias Mudzuri, yesterday described the ongoing primary elections as a sham amid indications that over 80 candidates had filed complaints to the party’s national election directorate.
Most senior party members lost the primary elections characterised by violence, chaos and allegations of vote rigging. Sitting legislators such as Messrs Gift Chimanikire, (Southerton), Webster Maondera (Glen Norah), Fani Munengami (Glen View North), James Maridadi (Tafara/Mabvuku) and Simon Chidhakwa (Zengeza West) lost the primary polls.
Other bigwigs who lost include Mr Jameson Timba (Mount Pleasant) and women assembly chairperson Ms Lynette Karenyi (Dangamvura-Chikanga).
Highly placed sources said MDC-T VP Mudzuri was livid over the decision to subject him to primary elections in Warren Park constituency pitting him against “little- known political novices”.
They said the decision was aimed at reducing him into a “political midget”.
In an interview yesterday, Eng Mudzuri said he was in discussions with the party hierarchy to ensure that the election template was adhered to.
“As a vice president I cannot be seen being challenged by junior people unless the idea is to reduce me into a political midget. Besides, some of these people do not fit into the election template that we have set as a party. You cannot have a whole vice president going into a ward and subjected to primaries with junior members. I am in the presidium and have been acting president,” said Eng Mudzuri.
He said the challenges in the party were not insurmountable and a solution would be found.
“Nowhere in the world do you see that happening. It is a joke. I hope someone is not playing political games meant to reduce me into a midget,” said Eng Mudzuri.
Mr Chimanikire, who lost to Councillor Peter Moyo, described the primary elections as chaotic.
He said he would soon launch an appeal.
“There were several misdemeanours. People who had voted would mingle with those that had not voted and they would swap party cards and ended up voting more than once. Besides, there was no register because the presiding officer refused to use it saying it was shambolic. As a result people who were not party members were allowed to vote because they swapped cards,” said Mr Chimanikire.
Others complained that the issue of seniority was being selectively applied.
They said in Budiriro, sitting MP Mr Costa Machingauta was protected against Councillor Panganai Charumbira.
When contacted, MDC-T acting national chairperson Mr Morgan Komichi said those aggrieved with the process should notify the party leadership.
“I have more than 50 appeals across the country and very soon we shall set up an appeals committee and if there is any injustice a re-run will be ordered. People also ought to understand that seniority is in two parts, seniority in terms of rank and in terms of time spent in the party. One might be a national executive member but another person might be in the district but could have joined the party in 1999 at its inception. In that case we say let the people decide. The election template is there just to guide us as a party,” said Mr Komichi.
He said the party had resolved to have Eng Mudzuri in the Senate and had been exempted from contesting the constituency.
“We are almost 80 percent complete with primaries in Harare province,” he said.
In Kuwadzana East, party deputy treasurer Mr Charlton Hwende traded accusations of violence and vote rigging with his rival, Mr Shakespeare Mukoyi.
Mr Hwende accused Mr Mukoyi of unleashing violent party youths, commonly known as “the vanguard”, on his supporters.
“The election has since been aborted because of Mukoyi’s violent character and we now wait to hear the way forward from the national election directorate,” said Mr Hwende yesterday.
Mr Mukoyi denied the allegations.
He accused Mr Hwende of trying to impose himself in the constituency.