The MDC, led by Douglas Mwonzora, has set this Thursday as the deadline for aspiring candidates to submit their applications, and in areas where there are two candidates for one seat, the party will host one-day primaries across the country.
According to Mwonzora, the party’s 50 sitting Members of Parliament were unchallenged, leaving the party with the task of selecting candidates for the remaining 160 constituencies.
These are the constituencies where primary elections would be held but the primaries will be confined to only party structures who have to vote for their preferred candidate.
“Preparations for the elections are going on very well and as the MDC, we are finalising our candidate selection process and the deadline for all provinces to submit the names is Thursday,” Mwonzora said in an interview with CITE.
The party leader said prospective candidates had to apply to the party expressing their interest to run and that if there were more than one candidate, there were two steps to choose one.
“If there is more than one candidate, we do a two-stage process where the first process is for the candidates to persuade each other on who must stand down and who must contest. This is possible and sometimes, this strategy works,” Mwonzora said.
If that consensus strategy fails, the party resorts to primary elections.
“When the candidates don’t agree with each other, then we will do primary elections. Our primaries will be done in one day in the areas supposed to have those,” said the MDC leader who claimed their 50 MPs were unopposed and if vetted successfully, they could submit their nomination papers.
“MPs in about 50 constituencies were not opposed internally. These candidates will be vetted by security and if by Thursday, the vetting has taken place, the candidates will straightaway submit their papers to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Mwonzora said the main focus will then turn to the 160 remaining constituencies where the party had more than one hopeful candidate.
“We will give these candidates the weekend to make their consensus. If they don’t come up with one candidate, then we will fix a day countrywide. The MDC primaries are not going to involve everyone but will be confined to the MDC structures at each level to vote,” he said.
“So a smaller group of people will be voting and it is our hope that we have candidates in all the 210 constituencies.”
Mwonzora said MDC was also finalising its election manifesto and chief election message, which would be launched at the end of June.
“Our message is we are offering and standing for free education, free health care, free maternity, interest free loans for small business, subsidisation of agricultural input like fertilisers and chemicals. We also want total recalibration of pensions meant to restore value to the pensions. Basically, we are running on social democratic people’s issues,” summed the party leader.