Serious Fissures Rock MDC Alliance’s Zengeza East over Job Sikhala
Serious fissures rock the MDC Alliance supporters in Zengeza East over the candidature of Job Sikhala, amid allegations that he was imposed on the electorate as a strategy by Nelson Chamisa stalwarts to eliminate all those suspected to be aligned to Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora.
Sikhala’s candidature has seen the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP), Simon Chidhakwa filing nomination papers to contest as an independent candidate in the July 30 polls, a development likely to cost the Alliance the seat.
Chidhakwa an aggrieved member of Chamisa’s party said party supporters endorsed his candidature and they were working with him in his campaign.
He however claimed that the party’s primary elections had been rigged in favour of Sikhala adding that the party leadership was behind the divisions rocking the party through the imposition of candidates.
“I feel betrayed by what transpired. I think it was a well-calculated plan meant to get rid of us. I have always questioned why Sikhala would seek to contest in Zengeza West instead of St Mary’s Constituency which he has represented before.
The primary elections were also marred by irregularities. The party leadership went back on its promise that we would be protected from contestation. I was tasked to go and campaign in rural areas where the party does not have representation only to receive calls from colleagues who told me that they had been asked to hold primary elections in my constituency. Even if you look at the results, you will see that Sikhala got votes which were more than our registered members in certain Wards,” said Chidhakwa.
He said recent calls by the party’s national chairperson, Morgen Komichi urging those who registered as independent candidates to withdraw their candidature was an attempt to legitimize illegal processes.
Party sources alleged that the decision to replace Chidhakwa was because he was loyal to party secretary, Douglas Mwonzora.
“People such as Chidhakwa supported Mwonzora during the 2014 party congress held but they should not be penalized for that especially if we claim to be a democratic party. Sikhala was imposed on Zengeza West and that has divided the party because some members prefer to work with Chidhakwa,” said a source.
A party insider claimed that the MDC Alliance campaign machinery had been weakened after Chidhakwa was elbowed out.
“The move is quite suicidal considering the fact that Chidhakwa commands a lot of respect and support in the constituency. There are many party members who are not happy with the endorsement of Sikhala. The fact that he had to abandon St Mary’s Constituency to contest in Zengeza West certainly points to a ploy to get rid of Chidhakwa and that could prove costly,” added the insider.
There was also an outcry in Chitungwiza after some incumbent MPs, Unganai Tarusenga (St Mary’s) and Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) were confirmed as candidates without going through primaries.
Tarusenga refuted allegations that he was imposed while Sithole was not reachable for comment.
The MDC-T secretary for Chitungwiza, Lloyd Damba confirmed that a number of losing candidates had decided to contest as independents but expressed optimism that the MDC Alliance would win.
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