MASVINGO – Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) has embarked on the campaign trail ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections, with its primaries expected to be conducted before year-end, TellZim News can reveal.
Jostling for positions has since begun in Masvingo province for the 26 constituencies and Wards, a situation which has resulted in all urban councillors being suspended for various alleged misconducts.
MDC-T national spokesperson Obert Gutu confirmed that party primaries would be held this year and hastened to say the actual dates would be announced soon.
"Primary elections should be held before year-end. We have tasked the national elections directorate to come up with the dates and the guidelines for the elections, so once they are complete, we will start the exercise," said Gutu.
The 2013 party primaries were marred with chaos, controversy and rigging, with the then MDC-T national organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, being accused of fuelling factionalism in the party. MDC-T went on to perform dismally in the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections, garnering a paltry 49 parliamentary seats while their rivals Zanu-PF won a cool 169 seats, giving them majority in the August house.
Gutu said they have since decided to conduct the primaries early so that they would have amble time to mend differences that might emanate from the elections before the 2018 general elections.
"We do not want the same situation which happened in 2013 to repeat itself. Everyone knows Zanu-PF rigged the elections but we want to prepare and give our candidates ample time to cover ground mobilising people for an inevitable victory.
"2017 will be a year of extensive campaigning and mobilisation," Gutu added.
In Masvingo province, MDC-T lost all the constituencies to Zanu-PF in 2013 and the province is also on its toes preparing to reclaim lost glory. Before the primaries, Masvingo province will conduct gap-filling elections for posts vacated by members who have been elevated to national posts.
"On July 23, we will conduct our provincial gap-filling elections so that we get ready for the primaries. There are four positions which are available in the provincial executive; provincial treasurer, deputy treasurer, deputy secretary and deputy secretary of information. The position of treasurer became vacant after Takanai Mureyi was elevated to the national level," said provincial Chairperson James Gumbi.
Battle lines have been drawn for the candidature of Masvingo Urban seat after Tongai Matutu abandoned ship to join Tendai Biti's People's Democratic Party (PDP).
The grass root structures are divided over potential candidates Mureyi and Bonface Mazarire with the former tipped to win due to his suspected financial upper hand.news