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MDC-T Election Candidate Squabbles Worsen

Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mavambo Kusile Dawn party leader Simba Makoni preparing to address people at Sakubva Stadium, Mutare, Manicaland Province.
The problem of so-called rebel candidates continues to be a big headache for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the July 31 polls.

In Mutare, prominent lawyer Arnold Tsunga has defied calls by party leader Tsvangirai to withdraw his nomination papers in favour of incumbent and Housing Minister Giles Mutsekwa.

Party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said a deal was reached between Mr. Tsvangirai and Tsunga that the former withdraws from the race, having filed nomination papers at the same time with Mutsekwa.

Tsvangirai is said to have promised Tsunga a position equivalent to a provincial governor if he withdrew from the parliamentary race.

But Tsunga told VOA Studio 7 that he is not withdrawing his name from the race.

Tsunga, whose election campaign team is upping its game in the city, said no-one in the MDC-T has the right to speak on his behalf.

The lawyer, who’s confident of wrestling the seat from Mutsekwa, said his campaign is in full swing, adding it is too late to turn back.

His brother, Regai Tsunga, is standing in the parliamentary election for Mutasa South constituency on an independent ticket after his papers were thrown out by the MDC for allegedly allowing Zanu PF to host a party for President Robert Mugabe’s birthday party last year at a local golf club where he was chairman – an allegation Tsunga said was flimsy.

Mr. Mwonzora this week said Tsvangirai had met both Mutsekwa and Tsunga and a deal was brokered to allow Mutsekwa to stand as the MDC-T’s main candidate. When reached for comment, Mwonzora maintained the same position.

Manicaland provincial party spokesperson Pishai Muchauraya said no deal was reached, adding the MDC-T is fielding two candidates in the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency.

He said the people will decide who they want to represent them come July 31.

For his part, Mutsekwa said Tsunga had accepted the post of provincial chairman at their meeting with Mr. Tsvangirai ahead of the party’s star rally in Sakubva Stadium on Saturday.

He said he is not sure why Tsunga decided to change his mind.