MDC-T ‘smuggles’ mayor back into election race

CONFUSION is reigning in MDC-T’s Bulawayo East constituency after the winning candidate was allegedly booted out ahead of the Nomination Court sitting today to accommodate mayor Martin Moyo, who lost the primaries to party youth activist, Tinashe Kambarami.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Kambarami trounced Moyo in the party’s ward 3 primaries, receiving 170 votes against the mayor’s 25, but the Bulawayo East district structures and provincial executive reportedly lodged a complaint, arguing the former was ineligible to contest.

Moyo also wrote to the Bulawayo provincial executive and the party’s national elections directorate pleading to be endorsed as ward 3 council candidate despite losing the primaries, arguing he was a senior member who was not supposed to be subjected to internal party polls.

Bulawayo MDC-T spokesperson Felix Magalela Sibanda refused to comment yesterday, saying he would only do so after the Nomination Court today.

“I am under no obligation to speak until after Nomination Court is over,” he said before referring Southern Eye to provincial chairperson Gift
Banda.

Banda also refused to comment saying “the elections directorate will give us the final list. As a province, we will stand guided by it.”

Moyo, however, confirmed that he was now the ward 3 candidate.

“I wrote a letter in my personal capacity to lodge a complaint over the way the primary elections were handled. I complained about the bussing of supporters, vote-buying and so forth. I did get a response, and it was in my favour, meaning am now the ward 3 candidate,” he said.

Kambarami was not reachable for comment yesterday.

A few weeks before the primaries, the Bulawayo East constituency wrote to the provincial executive protesting Kambarami’s candidature on the grounds he was “an outsider”, as tribalism took root in the party.

In 2013, Kambarami was expelled from the party for contesting as an independent parliamentary candidate against the official party candidate Tabitha Khumalo.

“The template stipulates that a junior cadre cannot challenge a senior cadre. Moyo is senior to Kambarami by virtue of being a member of the provincial executive as well as being deployed by the party as a mayor of Bulawayo,” part of the letter dated April 30 and signed by four Bulawayo East executives, read.

Other sitting councillors who lost in the primaries are Gladys Masuku (ward 10) and Nephat Sibanda (ward 16).