The MDC Alliance candidate selection model, community consensus, designed ostensibly to curb divisions, is being vehemently resisted by members who view it as a ploy by the national leadership to impose their allies as candidates for 26 March by-elections and 2023 Harmonised Elections.
Insiders confided in this publication that aspiring candidates were pushing for primary elections so that the best candidates for the party are selected. They said the party was likely to jeopardise its chances of winning the by-elections if it adopted the community consensus concept.
“In Harare for instance, we had a Provincial Executive Council (PEC) meeting on Saturday where chairman (Wellington) Chikombo (MDC Alliance Harare Provincial Chairperson) gathered all aspiring candidates for Glenview North. Chikombo directed all the aspiring candidates to come up with a single candidate based on consensus,” said a source who is within that party’s PEC.
The PEC member revealed that there were seven aspiring candidates and all of them refused to step down demanding primary elections.
“In a bid to eliminate the candidates, Chikombo demanded US$80 from each candidate as application fee. Apparently, Chikombo had sponsored Fanuel Munengami, the president’s (Nelson Chamisa) choice, in the hope that the rest would not manage to raise the money. However, most of the candidates have a sponsoring hand behind the scene. They all paid the US$80 with ease,” said the source.
Apart from Munengami who is the Provincial Secretary for Information and Publicity, some of the aspiring candidates are Victor Chifodya, a provincial executive member; Leonard Mhishi, a Branch Secretary; Law Mabhugu, Constituency Coordinating Committee (CCC) Youth Chairperson; Tafadzwa Manyundwa, a CCC member; Branch Chairpersons John Molebarang and Augustin Chimutashu.
A heated argument stretched for hours as aspiring candidates demanded that primary elections be held to reflect the democratic principles the party was founded on. According to the source, Chikombo had to threaten them that if they failed to reach a consensus, the party would have to pick an outsider who was not on the list.
“The candidates were left for an hour to reach a consensus but they all vowed that they would not step down for someone. Eventually Chikombo brought a message purportedly from the president (Chamisa) directing that for the sake of party unity, Munengami will be the candidate. This did not go down well with the other candidates. Some threatened to stand as independent candidates while others promised to support Munengami provided he would not stand in the 2023 elections,” said the source.
The MDC Alliance has adopted the community based consensus as a new model for candidate selection arguing that primary elections were divisive. However, the model has caused disgruntlement as members view it as a scheme by Chamisa to impose candidates of his choice and elbow out candidates from the rival Maruva cabal. Analysts say the MDC Alliance is likely to be torn asunder ahead of the by-elections if it continued with the despised community consensus concept.