The much-awaited MDC elective congress has been hit by massive internal irregularities as several candidates claim they are in the dark on the voting process and they have not been given enough time to inspect voters roll and ballot papers, CITE has learned.
Thousands of opposition members are gathered here in Ascot Stadium in Gweru for the 5th elective congress.
It’s the first congress since the death of the founding leader, Dr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, in early 2018.
The youth and women assemblies kick start the voting process today at 2 pm, but accreditation of delegates had not commenced by midday.
However, CITE gathers that there has been a widespread outcry over late unavailing of the voters roll to candidates and delegates.
“The voter’s roll must have been rolled out days before the Congress to afford everyone involved time to inspect, raise objections and have it cleaned up,” said one candidate vying for youth national chair post.
According to the candidates, that has not been done ‘bringing to question the credibility of the process”
“One would have hoped that a thorough verification exercise would be done before voting to ensure every delegate is on voter’s roll. Sadly, that might not happen”.
Another candidate expressed concern over voting times and electricity supplies at the venue.
“Traditionally, it’s rare for the party to conduct elections in the day time. It’s always at night and that was the case during provincial congresses.
“That is not safe. The process also risks being affected by power cuts. Our rivals Zanu PF can simple order ZEDTC to switch off power.
“I wonder if we have backup generators,” said the Gweru based candidate who is not mandated to speak to the media.
Others said they have not been availed samples of ballot papers and that pose a danger of some candidates having been omitted.
Party insiders also confided to CITE that another contentious issue is that of subscriptions.
Internal memorandums from provincial treasurer generals which indicate that only paid up members will be allowed to vote have unsettled many delegates and candidates.
“Please take note, members shall not be permitted to vote if they are not fully paid up members of the party.
“I am kindly advising members to ensure that they collect their receipts which must be kept safe for production at the congress in Gweru,” read a memorandum gleaned by CITE.
The memorandum indicates that subscription amounts are $100 RTGS for members of parliament, Mayor $50, councillors $20, provincial members $10, district members and branch members are expected to pay $6.
“If one holds a position in structure but also holds an office of Councillor, Mayor or MP they are required to pay fees relevant to the office they hold, otherwise a part payment will be refused and not receipted” added Phiri.
Most delegates and particularly candidates said they feel ambushed by the directive. They said this will disadvantage them in that their potential voters would be barred.
“All my campaigning might go to waste as most people who have indicated to vote for me are not paid up.
‘I don’t have money to pay for them. So i have technically lost scores of potential voters” said a youth candidate eyeing deputy treasurer post.
CITE could not get comment from the Independent body mandated to conduct elections as they were said to be in a meeting.