MUTARE — Human rights lawyer, Arnold Tsunga and Patrick Sagandira will be expelled from the MDC-T if they fail to withdraw their candidature ahead of Wednesday’s harmonised elections, a senior party official has warned.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has directed that Tsunga and Sagandira withdraw their candidature in Dangamvura-Chikanga and Makoni Central constituencies respectively before the polls.
Tsvangirai has endorsed Giles Mutsekwa in Dangamvura-Chikanga and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader, Simba Makoni to represent MDC-T in Makoni Central, after he forged an electoral pact with the former finance minister in President Robert Mugabe’s government.
MDC-T acting national chairman, Morgan Komichi, who was in Manicaland last week to address factionalism in the party, said those who were defying Tsvangirai would be expelled from the party.
“President [Tsvangirai] has been very clear on the candidates. Giles Mutsekwa will stand for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency and Simba Makoni for Makoni Central. Anyone who objects will be expelled from the party,” said Komichi.
“The MDC-T is a big institution and no one is bigger than it. If those candidates [Tsunga and Sagandira] defy our President’s call then that is called indiscipline and the MDC-T does not tolerate indiscipline.”
He said the party’s national council was not happy with the level of factionalism in Manicaland province, and warned that those divisions could cost the MDC-T in Wednesday’s make-or-break harmonised elections.
“I want to call all the MDC-T people in Manicaland to bury the hatchet and work together,” said Komichi. “Manicaland is important to us because this is one of our strongholds. Let’s all be one and vote for our official candidates.”
Mutsekwa said he was the candidate officially chosen by the party to represent the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency.
“The people of Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency ought to know that I am their candidate. There is no parallel candidature, because President Tsvangirai has made a ruling that I am the official candidate,” he said.
“Tsunga was told of that position and he accepted it. He was also told that he would be deployed elsewhere in the party, but we are surprised and perplexed that he is defying the party’s directive.”
But Tsunga said: “I am not defying the party’s position at all. The party is called Movement for Democratic Change and this is democracy. Yes, the party decided that I should step down, but, if I do so I would be letting my people in the constituency down. Let the people speak and l will follow the wishes of the people.”
Tsunga dispelled the assertion that having two candidates in the constituency would split votes.
“No ways, I have enough votes to win and all our votes will also work in favour of President Tsvangirai,” Tsunga said.
Sagandira also said he would not withdraw.
“I want the people in Makoni Central to know that I am the MDC-T candidate whom they should vote for,” said Sagandira.
“The people of Makoni Central and I have done a lot of ground work, so for me to withdraw will be the biggest let down of the people in my constituency.”