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March 26 by-elections: Chamisa appeals for donations

By Shami Makombe

MAIN opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa is appealing for members to donate towards the party’s participation in the upcoming by-elections set for March 26, 2022.

President Mnangagwa in a Government Gazette proclaimed March 26 as the date to hold dozens of outstanding by-elections across the country. Most of the seats fell vacant after the recalls of elected officials by the rival MDC-T camp led by Douglas Mwonzora. However, a few other seats got vacant as a result of deaths.

Reacting to news of the impending by-elections, MDC Alliance Treasurer-General David Coltart said the party had no funds and would bank on membership donations to fund its participation in the elections.

“The MDC Alliance needs your financial support to contest these elections. We cannot look to anywhere else other than you all,” Coltart said in a plea to the members.

As well a losing elected officials to Mwonzora, Chamisa’s party also lost Treasury funding which amounts to a huge chunk of resources available to the official opposition party every calendar year. Chamisa also lost party headquarters, assets and vehicles after the Supreme Court found his succession of Morgam Tsvangirai to be illegitimate and against the party’s constitution.

Some responses to Coltart’s plea indicated that a good proportion of the membership remains unclear how previously donated funds were handled by the party. Others also wanted the party to clarify whether it was officially changing its name before the by-elections amid fears it could be ambused by the Mwonzora camp.

Already, MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube has stated that his party is contesting the by-elections as MDC Alliance and warned anyone against “usurping our name”.

Lack of funding will seriously limit how far Chamisa’s officials can campaign in an environment where voters are used to receiving goodies from prospective representatives during campaign periods.

The vacant parliamentary seats are Pumula, Nkulumane, Epworth, Gokwe Central, Glen Norah, Harare Central, Highfield East, Highfield West, Kuwadzana East, Mufakose, St Marys, Kambuzuma, Harare East, Dangamvura Chikanga, Mutasa South, Marondera Central, Chivi South, Binga North, Mkoba, Mbizo, Kuwadzana, Glen View North, Marondera East, Murewa South, Mwenezi East, Tsholotsho South, Kwekwe and Mberengwa South.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa did not, however, set date for the local council ward by-elections.

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