OTHER partners in the MDC Alliance have accused the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC-T party of encroaching into constituencies allocated to the coalition’s smaller parties and pushing them to Zanu PF -dominated areas.
The development has reportedly upset some of the smaller parties, who are now contemplating moving out of the coalition, accusing the MDC-T of taking them for a ride. The Chamisa-led coalition comprises six other parties, although the MDC-T has the lion’s share of the seats.
MDC-T negotiator, Jameson Timba said some of the parties are ceding some seats to them, while others are opting for a swap because they are not popular in those areas. He said there was no big deal on the matter because all the candidates were contesting under the banner of MDC Alliance.
“The 210 candidates are alliance candidates because no one is going there with their different name,” he said.
“At the end of the day, what is critical is that the alliance as a whole, as a collective, must put its best foot forward because all candidates are going to be contesting under one name, we all have one identity.
“Alliance building is a process and as you are aware, we have building this alliance for the past one and half years ago. When building the alliance we go to the ground and new information will come up. Some parties believe they were strong in particular areas, but as time goes on, they might feel they are stronger in the next area, so the alliance agreement provides for swapping of constituencies based on the prevailing situation on the ground and that doesn’t amount to renegotiation.
“There is also a provision in the alliance that a party can cede to another party. We also have a provision that in the event that a certain party fails to field a candidate that seat, will be reallocated to another party,” he said.
Timba said in politics, disputes are expected to happen and the process of alliance building anywhere in the world is always susceptible to disputes within the agreement they have the grievance handling mechanism, namely the coalition liaison forum, which is a committee with a rotational chair among all the seven parties.
He said the committee is responsible for handling all disputes that arise in the implementation of the agreement.
However, some coalition partners, who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing the matter might escalate and further jeopardise the agreement, said MDC-T’s conduct was deplorable.
“This is the highest form of arrogance that we are witnessing. Most parties are being told that because you are small, you don’t deserve the seats that were allocated and, hence, they are willy-nilly violating the agreement,” an official said.
“In some cases, we feel like it’s a deliberate way to push us out. Timba was assigned to communicate the message to the alliance partners that they should prepare to cede some of the constituencies because there is so much resistance in the MDC-T. We will see how it goes, but it is most likely that if our grievances are not resolved, that might be the end of the pact.” added the official. Newsday