Monday, July 08, 2013

MDC-T ministers clash over nomination
Sunday, 30 June 2013 00:00
Tinashe Farawo

MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti and the party’s national secretary for defence, Mr Giles Mutsekwa, nearly exchanged blows at Harvest House in Harare last Friday.

This occurred after Mr Biti refused to sign Mr Mutsekwa’s nomination papers, saying the MDC-T leadership did not want him to represent the party in the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Reliable MDC-T insiders revealed that Mr Biti told Mr Mutsekwa that he was “excess baggage”, adding that he was free to join Zanu-PF.

The insiders said party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai had to intervene by instructing deputy national chairman Mr Morgan Komichi to sign the papers.

Mr Mutsekwa, who was infuriated by the episode, then rushed to his Chikanga-Dangamvura National Assembly constituency to beat the Nomination Court deadline.

Mr Mutsekwa refused to comment when contacted yesterday while Mr Biti could not be reached.

“Biti told him (Mr Mutsekwa) that he was not going to sign, saying ‘nekuti hatina basa newe. Kana uchida enda kuZanu-PF (We do not care about you. If you so wish, you can join Zanu-PF),” said a source.

MDC-T national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa confirmed the incident but tried to downplay it.

“Yes, we have problems with our candidates in Chikanga-Dangamvura, but we have ordered them to submit their nomination papers. We will democratically solve the impasse in the next four to five weeks,” he said. Mr Mutsekwa and lawyer Mr Arnold Tsunga are both vying for Chikanga-Dangamvura under the MDC-T banner. It is believed Mr Mutsekwa is a Tsvangirai loyalist while his opponent belongs to the Biti camp.

Sources said the failure by the party’s leadership to resolve the impasse saw Mr Mutsekwa and Mr Tsunga both filing nomination papers for the same constituency. The sources said the MDC-T was still tackling candidate selection concerns in other areas after some high-ranking officials also tried to scuttle the nomination process. It emerged that in Manicaland, some officials reportedly fled with the nomination papers of some winning candidates who do not belong to their faction.

“Before they disappeared, they were refusing to sign papers for winning candidates who do not belong to their camp while signing for candidates who lost in the primary elections.”

Problems were also reported in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South and the Midlands.

A senior MDC-T official hit out at Mr Tsvangirai for failing to resolve problems afflicting the party.

“We are having a lot of problems with our leaders who do not want to listen to the people. We want a leadership which can decide because, as we speak, our leaders have failed to decide. Where is Biti getting the powers to refuse to sign and tell a senior member like Mutsekwa to go hang right in his face?”

Last Friday, nomination courts sat countrywide to receive the documents of candidates in the forthcoming harmonised elections. Chairpersons and secretaries-general were required to endorse the papers of their respective parliamentary candidates.

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