Thursday, 4 April 2019

CHAOS MARS MDC ELECTIONS


CHAOS characterised the recently held MDC ward and district congresses in Midlands and Beitbridge where new structures were being elected ahead of the national crunch event set for May.

Top party officials eyeing posts at the provincial as well as national executive levels and those seeking to place their loyalists in the structures to position themselves to contest in the 2023 general elections were said to be behind the chaos.

Violence erupted at the provincial party office in Gweru where the district was holding youths, women and the main wing elections on Sunday.

Gweru councillor, Doubt Ncube (ward 3) was spotted running away with the data forms for the women’s assembly which captured names of those that were eligible to vote, thereby delaying the process by almost three hours.

The councillor allegedly backed by a member of the national executive, claimed the list had been doctored. 

In Zvishavane-Ngezi, the voting process was also disrupted after some officials tried to force the district congress to be moved from the designated venue to the house of Senator Lilian Timveous who is understood to be eyeing the post of party deputy president.

In Shurugwi North, there were reports of vote-buying sponsored by a candidate wishing to contest at the provincial congress.

“When we had reached the stage of nominating candidates for the provincial chairman, the presiding officer asked people to raise their hands to show their choices of a person they wished to nominate. When he mentioned the name of one of the candidates and people who supported the guy raised their hands, the process was briefly stopped and all those who had raised their hands were asked to leave the building. When the process resumed and the same name was called out so that people who supported the candidate could raise their hands again, nobody did amid claims that they had been bought not to vote for the candidate,” said a source alleging vote-buying.

In Shurugwi South, the 2018 MDC Alliance losing parliamentary candidate Osherd Mutunami caused a storm when he tried to stop the elections saying people from ward 4, where he comes from, had not attended in their numbers, raising the ire of those present.

The situation degenerated into violence and peace was only restored after businessman Daniel Mabonga intervened. Mutunami sought refuge in the businessman’s vehicle after youths bayed for his blood accusing him of trying to divide the district by lobbying for his loyalists to occupy positions.

In Vungu district, sources said people bussed from outside the area voted for the district executive, side-lining locals.

Various wards in Mkoba, Chiwundura and Gweru urban districts submitted petitions to the party provincial office, but no hearings were done within the stipulated four days outlined in the template and the provincial executive allowed district congresses to be held before solving disputes on the lower structures.

In Lalapansi, there was chaos again as people not known in the structures were bussed in to vote for members known to be inactive in the party, thereby causing chaos during the event.

MDC Midlands South spokesperson Munyaradzi Mutandavari said the process went on well and that the party leadership would resolve disputed areas.

“The process went on well and since there were elections involved there were bound to be some aggrieved persons. We are going to sit down and review the process as a whole and if we see that there were areas in which things did not go on well, we will seek to resolve the disputes fairly and amicably,” he said. 

In Beitbridge district, an MDC security official allegedly tasered a delegate identified as Mafios Macheka under unclear circumstances.

Beitbridge MDC chairperson Elliot Maveza, who was retained at the elective congress, yesterday said Macheka was a known problem and was “where he was not supposed to be”.

“Whoever told you that should have said everything, Macheka is a known problem. He was at a place he was not supposed to be and was escorted out of the stadium by police and our security,” Maveza said without denying that there had been violence.

A report is, however, said to have been made to police.

Convener of the elections, Nomathemba Ndlovu, who is a provincial member from Gwanda, said during elections those defeated came up with all sorts of allegations of irregularities.

“It’s natural that when one has been defeated, they come up with issues. I did not see any violence, but you may ask the district members,” Ndlovu said. Newsday

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