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Zimbabwe's MDC-T Holds Meeting to Discuss Primary Elections

The National Executive of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai held a meeting in Harare Tuesday to discuss primary election guidelines and selection of candidates for the next crucial polls.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the party’s National Council was now expected to meet Wednesday to finalise the dates for the primary elections.

There has been discontent in the party over alleged moves by top MDC-T officials to avoid primaries ahead of the polls expected next year.

The party’s constitution stipulates that a sitting member of parliament requires a two-thirds confirmation from party members in his constituency to avoid a primary election.

But some members have rejected such provisions as undemocratic saying all aspiring party candidates must be subjected to open primary elections.

Mwonzora said his party will adhere to its constitution that those eligible to contest in the election should have been card-carrying members for at least five years.

He said there could be some exceptions for newcomers who may have been working with the party from outside.

Meanwhile, the Zanu PF Politburo is expected to meet soon to come up with its own primary election guidelines, but sources said it will look at academic qualifications of candidates, history of members and membership cards.

President Robert Mugabe has indicated that the country is likely to hold elections in March next year but the two formations of the MDC have dismissed his remarks as wishful thinking.

The MDC parties say the country needs to implement democratic reforms before holding any polls to end the unity government set up in 2009 following violent elections in 2008.
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