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Party of Zimbabwe PM to Set Poll Guidelines Thwarting Internal Jostling

Candidates have started jostling for positions in Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC formation resulting in divisions developing in some areas as competition intensifies.

Already in Manicaland province, two MDC legislators - Mutasa North lawmaker, David Chimhini and Trevor Saruwaka of Mutasa Central, have been suspended allegedly for fanning factionalism in the party.

Parliamentary hopefuls are said to dividing people at the grassroots level as they position themselves ahead of possible elections this year.

President Robert Mugabe and hardliners in his party want elections to end the shaky coalition government but Mr. Tsvangirai and others say polls may only be called once democratic reforms have been implemented.

MDC officials have been gathering suggestions on how best to conduct elections to choose party representatives without tearing the movement apart. Others want the party to adopt the system used by the African National Congress in South Africa, in which officials elected at congress dominate the election register.

Organizing secretary, Nelson Chamisa, told VOA the party is still consulting and will soon come up with guidelines to guide those seeking parliamentary seats. He said some aspiring candidates will be disqualified by the guidelines.

“We are a democratic party and we will follow democratic guidelines in coming up with the best and most suitable candidates,” said Chamisa.

Of late some Zimbabwean activists in the diaspora and those at home have been clamoring for positions within the party ahead of the polls that many believe will be called some time next year.