BULAWAYO — The MDC is set to hold its primary elections next month after a “stringent” screening exercise to avert future defections of elected members.
REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Party insiders said the process was designed to ensure that only party “faithfuls” would represent the Welshman Ncube-led party.
The MDC suffered several defections to the MDC-T led by Prime Morgan Tsvangirai since the 2008 elections. Sources in the MDC told The Standard that the defections had dented the party’s image, hence “the need for a strict screening exercise”.
“It has been agreed that there would be a strict screening process to ensure that we do not face reports of disloyalty and defections in future,” a party official said.
“A provincial committee of the provincial directorate of elections will screen candidates in their respective provinces before submitting the list to the national elections directorate for further screening and endorsement.”
Aspiring candidates would be expected not to have gone through a disciplinary hearing in the past five years. They should be fully paid-up members with no criminal records. Besides being a card-carrying member for five years, an aspiring candidate “is expected to have shown undying love, loyalty, faithfulness to the party and total respect for leadership”.
MDC director of elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga, last week confirmed the party had come up with a stringent screening exercise.
“We have not yet finalised the process of coming up with the guidelines of identifying our candidates,” said Shiriyedenga. “The guidelines will ensure that we come up with able candidates.”
Previous defections, expulsions
At least 11 councillors from Umzingwane, Matabeleland South province defected from MDC to join MDC-T.
The MDC also recently expelled legislators; Nomalanga Khumalo (Umzingwane), Thandeko Zindi Mnkandla (Gwanda North) and Senators; Kembo Dube (Umzingwane South), Dalumuzi Khumalo (Lupane) and Patrick Dube (Gwanda Central), for allegedly working with the MDC T. In 2009, the party expelled legislators; Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East), over the same charges.