The battle of the two Jameses in Mabvuku

by Tawanda Musariri

Confusion is reigning in its supremacy in the double dipping MDC Alliance in Mabvuku Constituency where both the winning and the losing candidates in the party’s internal elections are embroiled in a fierce battle to represent the party in the election in two weeks’ time.

James Maridadi lost the election to James Chidhakwa but the outgoing legislator, Maridadi, in a show of open defiance to the party, did not heed the call to withdraw his candidature from the election management body, ZEC, up until the window period for such withdrawal expired. This left the party in sixes and sevens as there are two faces representing the party, a situation that puts the party in undisguised disadvantage as its supporters will be split between the two. This will give the Zanu PF unfettered access to victory considering that the party has fielded only one candidate, the Harare Province Chairperson Cde Goodwills Masimirembwa.

So fierce and hostile is the competition between the two camps that verbal and physical confrontations cannot be discounted. Maridadi, the one with lesser moral ground, is running parallel structures, fronting aspiring councillor for Ward 21, one Blessing Nhende to counter the campaign activities of Chidhakwa.

Speaking to an anonymous MDC official in the constituency, Harare Post has it that the two candidates have significant support among the party’s faithfuls, a position that is likely to play into the party’s prospects of winning the constituency.

“Trouble started when Chidhakwa connived with some youths in Caledonia who came to vote for his candidature. Maridadi had braced himself for a fair challenge and was in the woods regard the hatched plan. Further to that, Chidhakwa is said to have bribed members of the Alliance’s Elections Directorate (which is dominated by the MDC-T) so that his electoral malpractice could be turned a blind eye to. After failing to get recourse, Maridadi chose to do the unthinkable and defy party protocol. This has put us at an unrecoverable disadvantage,” said the official.

Discipline within the rank and file of the MDC Alliance is at an all time low since the Alliance leader unconstitutionally wrestled control of the party from the legitimate leader Ms Thokozani Khupe. The indiscipline is cascading down the party structures.

Discord in the Alliance is rife with alliance principals in serious disquiet over Nelson Chamisa’s big brother mentality in the political marriage. A once promising Alliance partner, Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe has literally been annihilated from the union.  Meanwhile, in Mabvuku, the battle of the ‘Jameses’ continues. There is no solution in sight.