The MDC has barred party cadres who stood as independent candidates in last year’s elections from contesting for posts ahead of the party’s elective congress pencilled in for October.
The cash-strapped opposition party has also introduced stringent conditions on who can take part in the congress following the chaos which characterised its primary elections last year.
Party cadres like Felix Magalela Mafa and others who defied party leader Morgan Tsvangirai after he asked them to step aside and make way for the party’s preferred candidates will not be eligible to participate in the congress.
However, Mafa has since re-joined the party blaming party rebels seeking to dethrone Tsvangirai for frustrating him.
Mafa claimed that former deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and others who are calling for Tsvangirai’s ouster were the ones who prompted many real party cadres to run as independent candidates.
According to a template which shows how the congresses at various levels will be conducted, those who stood as independent candidates will not be able to contest for any position.
The template also spells out credentials for a person to contest for office, qualifications to vote in the congresses as well as the code of conduct to be followed by everyone during the congress period.
“If any person stood as an independent candidate in any national election and they have not been rehabilitated, they are automatically disqualified. “Candidates shall also be disqualified if they promote factionalism or campaign as a slate,” reads part of the template.
Incumbents for all posts will be subjected to an endorsement process where if one is not confirmed by a two thirds majority in the district, their offices will be subjected to an election.
Reeling under a deep financial crisis following a recent split engineered by former secretary-general Tendai Biti and Mangoma, the MDC template also disqualifies members who are not paid up in terms of subscription and underwriting fees.
“To qualify for branch, ward and district posts, a person should have a minimum of two years in the party while for provincial and national posts, it shall be five years.”
In a bid to clear its battered image owing to ugly scenes of violence that have been at times associated with the party, the MDC will automatically disqualify candidates who engage or are associated with violent conduct. Branch, ward, district and provincial congresses should be complete by July 18, August 15, August 30 and September 30 respectively according to the time-lines in the template.
By early September, the party’s external assemblies should have completed their congresses while the students’ council should be done by September 6 according to the template.
In a statement issued on Friday, party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said the main congress will be held in October with him and Harare West MP Jessie Majome as part of the organisers leading the Information and Publicity and the Constitution Review Committees respectively.