Hostilities in the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance are escalating with each passing day amid complaints that its elections directorate approved unqualified candidates to contest the Highfield West primary election last Sunday.

This comes as the party’s leadership stands accused of overlooking the alliance agreement which allows the group that came with one of the coalition’s deputies, Welshman Ncube, to field candidates unopposed for some parliamentary seats.

So bad are relations in the troubled party that the Harare provincial women’s assembly and some of the aspiring candidates have since written to the Ian Makone-headed national elections directorate, accusing it of nicodemously holding elections and challenging the candidatures of Maxwell Dutuma and Munyaradzi Munderi in the ward 26 primary election.

In a petition to Makone, the women’s assembly secretary Kudzai Chitembwe demanded that the two candidates’ participation be nullified because they allegedly do not meet the conditions set out in the party constitution and primary elections template.

“We note with grave concern the shortlisting of … Dutuma and … Munderi as candidates in the Ward 26 primary elections in violation of the party constitution and the primary elections templates as the two aspiring candidates do not meet the condition that requires a party candidate to have been a member of the party for at least five years.

“Please note that the Highfield West constituency coordinating committee highlighted this fact in writing during the vetting process at constituency level.

“We believe this important information should have assisted the national elections directorate to make the correct decision and disqualify the two aspiring candidates from participating in the party primary elections in line with the party constitution and primary elections template.

“By way of this petition, we are therefore requesting the national elections directorate to review and rescind its decision to allow … Dutuma and … Munderi to participate in the forthcoming primary elections in Ward 26 as this is in violation of the party constitution and primary elections template,” Chitembwe said.

However, despite the petition, Makone went ahead with the election on Sunday notwithstanding the fact that the Harare provincial executive had announced that the polls had been postponed indefinitely pending clarification on the candidates’ shortlist.

Dutuma went on to win the elections, triggering protests by other candidates, including the MDC Alliance Harare provincial women’s assembly chairperson, Moud Chinyerere.

In a petition to Makone, Chinyerere demanded the nullification of Dutuma’s election, claiming it had been done behind other candidates’ backs.

“I was both shocked and disappointed to learn that the national elections directorate conducted primary elections for Highfield West Ward 26 on Sunday 18 October at a time when the Harare province elections directorate had notified me through a written notice that the primary elections had been postponed to Sunday 25 October, 2020,” Chinyerere said.

She said the national elections directorate had not communicated the decision to cancel the postponement.

The petitioners argued that Duutuma does not reside in Highfield West Ward 26 as he allegedly lives in Haig Park in Mabelreign, Harare West Constituency, and that he has not served a continuous five years as a member of the opposition party.

Makone was not taking calls when efforts to get his comment were made.

This also comes as MDC Alliance partners accuse Chamisa and his close allies of shredding the 2018 coalition agreement by allowing members from their group to take part in designated vacant seats, including the Kuwadzana constituency in Harare.

This is despite the fact that the alliance agreement says Ncube’s MDC Green is supposed to field its candidates in the primary election, as the constituency falls within its allocated basket of seats.

Amid these ugly ructions, Ncube’s lieutenants walked away from party primaries held last Sunday   to choose the late Miriam Mushayi’s replacement as MP.

One of the aspiring candidates from the Ncube group, Kurauone Chihwayi – who was the MDC Green’s spokesperson before the consummation of the MDC Alliance – withdrew from the Kuwadzana race out of frustration and alleged lack of principles by the Chamisa camp.

Another aspiring candidate from the MDC Green, Ellen Shiriyedenga – who is MDC Alliance deputy secretary for elections in the national executive – also confirmed that she had withdrawn her candidature from the election, but declined to disclose her reasons.

Credit: Dailynews

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