Battle lines have been drawn over the Gutu South parliamentary seat which fell vacant following the death of Public Service minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro in August this year.
Zanu PF aspirant and Zimpapers chairperson Paul Chimedza is eyeing the seat, which was wrested from Gutu South iron lady Shuvai Ben Mahofa (Zanu PF) by the late Mukonoweshuro, a close confidant of MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“I want to contest in Gutu South. I have been on the ground for a time in the area. I am very confident of victory. Zanu PF will definitely reclaim Gutu South courtesy of me,” said Chimedza in a telephone interview.
On the other hand, the MDC-T is yet to come up with a candidate for the area, but has declared the seat will remain theirs.
Party provincial spokesperson Harrison Mudzuri said the MDC-T was democratic and allowed all those interested in the constituency to campaign.
“We do not impose candidates like Zanu PF. Gutu South is still open to all those in the party who are interested. It is free for all. Candidates will then forward the CVs and there will be primary elections.
“Our candidate will tap from the progress that the Late Professor had made in the area,” Mudzuri said.
Mukonoweshuro died in South Africa in August where he had gone for an operation, leaving a void in the constituency which Zanu PF wants to capitalise on.
In the 2008 harmonised elections, the late minister grabbed the seat, ending Zanu PF stranglehold on Gutu South and in the province that was once declared by the former ruling party “a one-party zone”.
However, this time around Zanu PF said times have changed with Chimedza declaring: “In the last election, it was just a protest vote.
“But, now people will be voting for an individual and not a party and looking at an individual’s merits in the next elections.”