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» » Knives drawn at MDC candidate selection meeting

Faustino Murambatsvina and Murangamwa Chanyau

…plot to oust sitting councillors exposed

Upenyu Chaota

- The Nelson Chamisa-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) last week showed its violent side yet again when nasty factional politics played out at its provincial headquarters in Rhodene during the selection of Masvingo Urban council candidates.
When it became apparent that the process was marred by irregularities, some disgruntled party members pulled knives out of their pockets while others engaged in fist fights.
The selection of prospective councillors was supposed to be done by consensus but it all degenerated into chaos after hordes of party mobs thronged the venue even though they had no business being there.
When candidate selection is done by consensus, only the aspiring candidates the wards sit and agree on who should stand but should they fail to agree, the party would go for primaries.
Out of the 10 wards in Masvingo Urban district,  Wards 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9 were decided – albeit controversially – with new names like Selina Maridza, Collen Maboke, Alex Mupfugami, Tafara Masimba and Martin Mureri coming on board for the wards respectively.
Ward 9 went back to Babylon Beta who is the sitting councillor.
Wards 3, 4, 6 and 10 were left to be decided on another day with reports that it will be done this coming Saturday, March 10.
MDC-T Masvingo district chairperson, Murangamwa Chanyau dismissed complaints about how the process was handled, saying losers are often bitter.
"We have called for consensus and it was done amicably. We looked at who has the people and that was the person went for. We will be done with all the wards by the end of the week," said Chanyau.
Asked if they are following the party election template, Chanyau admitted the template is not always used.
"We do not follow the template blindly because what we need at the end of the day are the people. We fight from the corner of the people. If people say they want someone, then we have to go for that person regardless of what the template may say. We are guided by the template but at the end of the day, people have the final say," said Chanyau.
MDC-T Masvingo district secretary general, Faustino Murambatsvina is said to have been assaulted when he tried to impose Mupfugami as the candidate during the selection of the Ward 5 candidate.
The plot to oust all the sitting Masvingo Urban councillors who have represented MDC-T with some remarkable distinction since 2013 has so far spared only Beta whom the faction of new comers, reportedly financed by Takanayi Mureyi, reportedly wants to use to airbrush its plot.
Mureyi, however, denied employing dirty tactics to get his own 'boys' as candidates and trying to capture the whole selection process.
 "At the end of the day, people talk but they have to apportion the blame onto somebody else. I do not have the power to influence people's decisions but as a party, we follow proper candidate-selection channels.
"We first go for consensus and if that fails, we then go for primaries. I heard there was violence at the selection process which is unfortunate. All the election processes are guided by the party election template," said Mureyi
Masvingo has for long been locked in factional wars between Mureyi and Tongai Matutu, both of whom want to represent the party as candidates for the Masvingo Urban parliamentary seat.
Mureyi is said to enjoy vast support in the party's district and provincial structures but lacks the grassroots support that Matutu news

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