MDC Alliance fields 2 ‘imposed’ candidates for Byo by-election

By Bayethe Mhlanga

Bulawayo- Chaos has rocked the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance Bulawayo province camp ahead of the council by election for Ward 28 (Cowdry Park) set for March 30.

This follows calls by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for a by-election to select a candidate to replace  Bulawayo’s ward 28 (Cowdray Park) councillor, Happy Ncube, who died in December.

The party initially allowed two candidates- former Cowdry Park namely  Councillor Collete Ndlovu and Nomagugu Mloyi to file their papers at the Nomination Court to fill the vacant seat, confirming cracks within the camp after violence and scenes of vote buying prevented the holding of the primary elections.

However, after the skirmishes, the party last week held another primary poll pitting the two candidates to elect the sole candidate. The disputed poll was won by Ndlovu who is accused of vote buying.

A source within the party who spoke on condition of anonymity said Ndlovu was imposed by the party’s top ranks over other deserving candidates.

“The party and province is divided. Collet Ndlovu was not supposed to contest since he is still serving for disciplinary charges within the party, he was imposed by the top rank. By the time the candidates went for the primaries his (Ndlovu) papers were already signed and sent to ZEC as the sole candidate of the party.

He was losing that election hence his thugs disrupted the primaries by stealing and burning the ballots and causing violence in a bid to stop a democratic process.

The party went on to allow Ndlovu and Mloyi to file their nomination papers but last week the two faced each other in a disputed election to select one candidate and Ndlovu won amid accusations of vote buying and rigging. Even though MDC has selected Ndlovu, Mloyi is yet to and is not likely to withdraw her candidature from ZEC,”she said.

Murisi Zwizwai the MDC-A Secretary for Elections confirmed that the party had selected Ndlovu to contest on March 30 over Mloyi.

“The party’s national standing committee sat down yesterday (Wednesday) and resolved that Collete Ndlovu will represent the party on the day. So Nomagugu Mloyi has to write to ZEC and notify them that she is not the MDC candidate, whether they withdraw her name or not it’s another issue but we don’t expect her to go about campaigning on behalf of MDC,” he said.

The Electoral Act allows a candidate to withdraw their candidature days before the election and if a candidate does not withdraw their candidature until Zec prints ballot papers, his or her name would appear on Election Day, which is likely to cause vote splitting on the day of the poll.

The recent mix up and double candidature has exposed the divisions with MDC Alliance as they gear up for the highly anticipated and potentially explosive elective congress which might see Douglas Mwonzora contesting against Nelson Chamisa.

“The whole fracas shows how the leadership is divided; Ndlovu has Mwonzora’s blessings whilst Mloyi is under Welshman Ncube faction. Mloyi’s nomination papers were signed by Ncube,” added the source.

More than 12 candidates had also successfully filed their nomination papers for the by-election including businessman  and ZANU PF representative Kidwell Mujuru, who lost to Ncube in last year’s election.