BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO MDC Alliance women’s assembly members on Sunday staged a demonstration against the party’s leadership, stalling the holding of primary elections to replace the late ward 8 councillor, Ronia Mudara.
The women were protesting against the party’s directorate of national elections (DNE)’s decision to include male candidates in the primaries or the municipal seat when the province had reserved it for female candidates.
The protest came after the province last week expressed concerns over the removal of one of the female candidates Thandekile Moyo’s name from the list of prospective candidants it sent to the party’s DNE.
The women accused the DNE of trying to impose a male candidate in the ward, thereby forcing a team comprising national youth secretary-general Ostallos Siziba, deputy national secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga, among others, to postpone the primaries, as the Bulawayo province insisted that all male candidates be removed from the contest and only female candidates should battle it out for the ward.
Bulawayo MDC Alliance spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza confirmed the incident.
“Women protested yesterday (Sunday) that they did not want male candidates. The primary election had to be called off and the province resolved that only female candidates should contest ward 8 primaries,”he said.
Initially the Bulawayo provincial executive (PEC) had submitted the names of Thandekile Moyo, Lezina Mohammed and Thandazani Mhlanga, all females along with the male candidates — Edwin Ndlovu, Wesley Moyo, Newman Ndlovu, Mqoqi Ncube and Thulani Ncube.
The executive had agreed that ward 8 should be reserved for a female candidate in accordance with article 5.9 of the party’s policy on women’s rights.
The policy obliges the party to be sensitive to the status of women.
However, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende in an internal memorandum dated October 2 only listed six candidates who qualified.
The list excluded Moyo and Ndlovu, leading the PEC to accuse NED of not adhering to the party constitution in the selection of candidates.