Protesters storm MDC-T headquarters
By Nomalanga Moyo
Scores of disgruntled MDC-T supporters on Friday besieged the party’s
headquarters at Harvest House, protesting what they said was the imposition
of candidates by the leadership.
SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said more than 100 protesters
stormed Harvest House demanding answers after Elias Jembere, the MDC-T MP
for Epworth, was confirmed as the party’s parliamentary candidate after
allegedly losing during the primaries.
The Epworth primary election was characterised by violence and skirmishes
which saw some of the contestants fleeing with the ballot boxes, leading to
the process being abandoned.
Muchemwa said the protesters are unhappy with what they see as the MDC-T
leadership’s attempt to protect losing sitting MPs by citing irregularities
and re-running the primaries at a later date.
“They say the party is repeating the polling process using people who are
not in the structures, and therefore ineligible to vote. Although MDC-T
spokesman Douglas Mwonzora did not confirm this, he acknowledged that there
were problems within the party which he attributed to “disgruntled
Reports also indicate that MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson
Chamisa was targeted by some party activists, who wanted to beat him up
accusing him of spearheading the imposition of candidates.
Muchemwa said: “There are accusations that it is Chamisa’s faction within
the party which is using ineligible party members vote and boost the numbers
for their preferred candidates. He had to be whisked away to safety to save
him from the party supporters.”
There are suggestions that Chamisa leads a faction that is aligned to party
president Morgan Tsvangirai while party secretary general Tendai Biti is
said to be in a rival faction.
Since the MDC-T primary elections started a month ago, there have been
reports of skirmishes in Mutare where sitting MP Giles Mutsekwa’s supporters
have been accused of violence towards fellow party member and aspiring
candidate Arnold Tsunga’s supporters.
In Vungu, Lower Gweru, and in Bulawayo province, some losing parliamentary
hopefuls have said that the voting process was rigged in favour of
candidates preferred by the party leadership.