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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Masvingo-Lupane Election Debate Series update
    Bulawayo Agenda

    May 27, 2013


    More than 100 Masvingo residents thronged Masvingo Civic Centre to attend the Election Debate held on Friday May 24. This was the second debate in the province, the first having been held a month ago. While the first one focused on the country’s preparedness for election, this debate sought to find out if the parties are internally ready for elections. It also provided a platform for citizens to clearly interrogate parties’ internal processes in selecting candidates for council, parliamentary and presidential elections. Honourable Harrison Mudzuri (Provincial Spokesperson MDC-T), Mr Qhubani Moyo (National Director of Policy and Research MDC) and Mr Thomas Maseko (Representing the provincial spokesperson Zapu) represented their parties. Zanu-PF was invited but no one participated on their behalf.

    Below are highlights from this meeting;

    • On respecting internal party constitutional provisions; People (electorate) demanded to know why the MDC-T had allowed people who had defected from the MDC to participate in the primaries contrary to the provisions in its constitution. However, Hounarable Muduri indicated that the same constitution has a clause which allows the National executive to consider people who have furthering the interests of the party even from outside (appendix 2).
    • Candidate selection process; Zapu is yet to decide on who will be its presidential candidate although they are likely to endorse Dumiso Dabengwa. This was raised after citizens wanted to know who will be the party’s presidential candidate since its constitution does not allow anyone over seventy to contest presidential elections and Dabengwa is over seventy.
    • The MDC led by Welshman Ncube had already received applications for all the available vacancies countrywide and the party is now in the process of selecting candidates, however, the process of selection remains unclear.
    • It emerged that the MDC-T was already involved in the internal process of candidate selection, having held the confirmation exercise for sitting MPs during the same week and moving towards primaries during the following weekend.
    • Reforms ahead of elections; All the parties reiterated the need for reforms before elections arguing that these would create conducive environment.
    • Questioned about Zapu’s visibility in the province and process of candidate selection, Mr Maseko informed the meeting that his party had received applications countrywide but was not clear on the exact process of candidate selection.
    • The people’s ask; The general calls to the parties were that they should be transparent and show that in the event of coming into power they would be able respect the country’s constitution, laws and account to the citizenry.


    Close to a hundred Lupane residents attended an election debate organized by Lupane Agenda, a chapter of Bulawayo Agenda at the Council Hall on Sunday May 26. This was the second debate in the district. While the first one focused on the country’s preparedness for election (the same as the Masvingo one), this debate sought to find out if the parties are internally ready for elections. It also provided a platform for citizens to clearly interrogate parties’ internal democratic processes in selecting candidates. Esau Ncube (MDC-T), Vumani Ndlovu (MDC), John Robert Khumalo (Zanu-PF) and Themba Mlala (Zapu) represented their party provincial chairpersons on the day.

    Below are some of the highlights of meeting;

    • Date of elections still contentious? MDC, MDC-T and Zapu agreed that elections are likely to be held in September while Zanu-PF failed to stick to June 29 and stated that the president will use the powers vested in him to determine the date of the election.
    • Candidate selection process; The MDC indicated that they had already started the process of identifying suitable candidates to represent the party during the polls. MDC-T also highlighted that primaries had already begun countrywide to select candidates. Zanu-PF’s Khumalo said his party is still preparing for primaries which will be held in due course while Mr Mlala his already party already has candidates countrywide and could not clarify the selection process.
    • On Reforms ahead of elections; MDC-T’s Ncube said his party will not participate in any election that is held before reforms, insisting that reforms first before elections.
    • On factionalism and intra-party violence; Responding to questions on intra-party violence, MDC-T rep said that his party ‘does not condone violence but at times it is in the human nature to get violent when fighting for power’. He however told the public that they are taking all the necessary action to deal with internal violence.
    • On violence and intimidation: Mr Mlala said his party is working tirelessly countrywide to make sure that they are visible and claimed that Jabulani Sibanda had been sent to Lupane because his party is making inroads in the district.
    • In a dramatic ‘Damascus moment’, Mlala admitted that he was once a violent Zanu-PF and he had left all the habits in that party as he was now with Zapu.
    • On possibility of an Electoral Pact; The two MDC formations concurred that there was no need for a coalition ahead of polls as they felt their parties have enough influence and resources to get outright victories.
    • Need for peaceful elections; Mr Khumalo called for political tolerance and peaceful elections emphasizing that what is important is that ‘we consider the fact that we are all Zimbabweans first before belonging to different political parties’.

    In closing, Bulawayo Agenda’s Mmeli Dube emphasized that these meetings should assist the electorate in making informed decisions during elections and that Bulawayo Agenda will provide platforms for elected officials to account to the electorate during their term of office. He thus urged the political parties and stakeholders to take these meetings seriously.

    Visit the Bulawayo Agenda fact sheet

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