DIVISIONS in the MDC Alliance saw the party fielding two candidates yesterday at the Nomination Court for Bulawayo Ward 28 election set for March 30 after primary polls were shelved as some members ran away with ballot papers following skirmishes.

Eighteen candidates successfully lodged their papers at the Nomination Court which sat at the council chambers, with Zanu-PF fielding one candidate Kidwell Mujuru while the MDC Alliance fielded two candidates Alderman Collet Ndhlovu and Ms Nomagugu Mloyi.

Other candidates include Mejury Dube from the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Gumpo Flora of MDC-T, Albert Mashayanyika of the National Constitutional Assembly, Polite Ncube of ZEFF, Nokuthula Ndlovu of Zapu, Nicholas Ngwenya of ZIPP, Nkosikhona Nyoni of MRP, Buhle Nzima of NPF and six independent candidates.

The seat fell vacant following the death in December last year of MDC Alliance councillor Happyson Ncube who had defeated Ald Ndlovu in primary polls before emerging victorious in the July 30 general elections.

On Thursday afternoon, MDC Alliance members are alleged to have been involved in skirmishes which resulted in some party members escaping with ballot papers making it impossible to hold the primary elections. An official within the MDC Alliance yesterday said the chaos was just a snippet of what is to follow as the opposition party prepares for congress.

Advocate Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance is set to hold its congress this year to elect its new leaders. MDC Alliance officials have reportedly started aligning themselves for positions ahead of the congress.

“The failure to hold primary elections is a sign of disorganisation within the party. The national office that should look into the issue of primary elections it seems was disinterested in the by-election maybe because it was a ward election,” said the official.

“The chaos that is happening at the moment is just an agenda being set for the party’s congress which will be held later this year. Individuals are aligning themselves for the party’s internal elections.”

The source said it was still unclear who the party wants as its official candidate for Ward 28. Both MDC Alliance candidates could not be reached for comment. However, MDC Alliance national spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume yesterday admitted that the party faced challenges regarding election material resulting in it shelving the holding of primary elections. He said they will hold a primary election pitting Ald Ndhlovu and Ms Mloyi within seven days to come up with one candidate.

Mr Mafume said the losing candidate will withdraw his or her name from the race as the law allows that for as long as it is done within seven days after the sitting of the Nomination Court.

“There is a deadline for Nomination Court but as you know a primary election can be held after the Nomination Court sitting. We have a contingency plan to deal with people who might not be satisfied with what would have happened. It will be sorted within seven days. The party allowed the candidates who fielded to field their names,” he said.

The discord within MDC Alliance occurred during the 2018 harmonised elections resulting in the party fielded more than one candidate in some areas.chronicle