MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa has been barred from presiding over the party’s provincial executive elections and standing committee nominations, amid allegations that he was spearheading widespread vote-buying. This has seen chaos reigning in the embattled party, with threats to reverse some of the provincial elections held recently ahead of the party’s congress later this month. The elections and nominations have been held in Harare, Chitungwiza and Masvingo provinces.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said Mr Chamisa had been barred by the party’s standing committee from presiding over the elections on allegations that as an interested party, he was vote-buying. Mr Chamisa is squaring off against Mr Mwonzora for the secretary-general’s post left vacant by Mr Tendai Biti, who led a breakaway group opposed to Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership.
The group is now known as MDC Renewal Team.
“In Masvingo, the process started well, but we have since discovered that the election was characterised by vote buying as one of the two candidates supposed to contest one of the top posts bought beer for members of the provincial electoral college,” Mr Mwonzora said. “We do not tolerate that. To us, that is rigging. There was also an abnormal number of spoilt ballots. There were 700 spoilt papers for the secretary-general’s position, while for the whole process, beginning at provincial level, some 4 000 spoilt ballots were discovered for all the positions, which is unimaginable given the (high) literacy of our members.”
Mr Mwonzora said the party’s standing committee met to deal with complaints of conflict of interest on Mr Chamisa’s part. But Mr Chamisa said he was not asked to step down and accused Mr Mwonzora of peddling lies because he feared losing the secretary-general’s contest.
“According to our constitution, elections and standing committee nominations are not done by myself, but by an independent body,” he said. The party is left with nine provinces to complete its provincial executive elections and standing committee nominations.