By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE MDC Alliance secretary-general Charlton Hwende is headed for a showdown with the party’s Bulawayo provincial executive after he issued a directive that all qualifying candidates should participate in the party’s forthcoming Ward 8 primary elections.
The ward, which is in Mzilikazi high-density suburb, fell vacant following the death of incumbent councillor, Ronia Mudara in July this year.
The party’s provincial executive met two months ago and resolved to field a female candidate in the ward.
However, Hwende disregarded the position and approved the party’s former provincial spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu to participate in the internal poll.
The move resulted in the party’s women provincial executive writing a petition to the party’s leadership complaining about Ndlovu’s participation in the primaries. They also accused Ndlovu of staying outside the ward.
However, on October 30, Hwende wrote to the Bulawayo provincial executive ordering the executive to organise the primary elections for all qualifying candidates including Ndlovu.
“The National Council had its meeting on the 23rd of October at Mabvazuva Village in Harare where it received reports of the primary elections for the forthcoming by-election,” wrote Hwende.
“The National Council noted with concern the disturbing developments that took place in Ward 8 Mzilikazi that led to the abandonment of the primary election exercise. The National Council did not condone the developments that resulted in some members protesting at the venue with placards and hurling at each other. The party has various mechanisms of handling complaints and these should be employed to avoid dragging in the name of the party into disrepute.”
Hwende the province to proceed with the primary elections.
“In as much as the National Council noted the appeal from your province on the candidature, the meeting resolved that all candidates that had qualified regardless of their gender must participate in the primary elections.
“As regards the quota system, the National Council decision was that the matter will be referred for further discussion, consultations, and recommendations but for the upcoming primaries, all qualified candidates must participate inclusively. Consequently, by a copy of this communique, you are directed to proceed with the selection of candidates in Ward 8 with all qualified candidates.”
The party was set to hold its primary elections on 26 September before Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in his capacity as the Health Minister indefinitely suspended all elections in the country citing the Covid-19 outbreak.
When reached for comment Hwende confirmed the directive.
“Yes, that is the position of the party,” he said.
However, the party’s move is likely to create divisions in the party ahead of the 2021 crunch by-elections.