THE Zanu PF turf war on who should represent the ruling party in Harare East by-elections on June 10 looks far from being resolved after it emerged yesterday that disqualified candidate Mavis Gumbo had not yet formally withdrawn her candidature.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
This is despite the fact that the party last week ordered Gumbo to step down and make way for career banker Terrence Mukupe.
Zanu PF sources told NewsDay yesterday that Gumbo’s supporters were distributing her campaign flyers at Mukupe’s rally in Tafara which was addressed by commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
“She (Gumbo) is yet to withdraw and continues to campaign in the constituency. It’s a difficult situation for
Zanu PF because besides the pronouncements at rallies and in the newspapers, Gumbo has not been notified officially of the party’s position,” a source close to the developments said yesterday.
“However, I can tell you this issue is far from over, not by a country mile until and unless (President Robert) Mugabe himself makes the pronouncement”.
Gumbo refused to comment over the matter yesterday, while Kasukuwere and party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo could not be contacted as he was attending a politburo meeting.
“Talk to the party leadership, they are better placed to comment. You know the right people, talk to them,” Gumbo said curtly.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) spokesperson Justin Manyau said the electoral body had not yet received any communication relating to withdrawal of Gumbo’s candidature.
“As you are probably aware, in the judgment handed down on May 6 2015 by the Electoral Court, case number EC/02/15, Terence Mukupe was retained as a Zanu PF candidate, implying that the party will be represented by two candidates, the other one being Mavis Gumbo. That’s the current official position,” Manyau said.
Quizzed on the legal procedure for withdrawal and the point at which a candidate can pull out, Manyau cited Section 49 of the Electoral Act.
“In terms of Section 49 of Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act, a duly nominated candidate for election for a constituency may withdraw his or her nomination at any time before polling or the first polling day, as the case may be, in the election concerned,” he said.
“Withdrawal of a candidate shall be effected by means of a written notification to the constituency elections officer, signed by the candidate personally.”
The Act adds that in the event of one candidate remaining after a withdrawal, the election officer in charge can then declare that candidate duly elected as of the final day of polling, but an appeal can force the revocation of the declaration.
According to the Act, if two or more candidates remain, the nomination officer is required at law to “take all such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that — (a) the withdrawal is brought to the attention of voters in the constituency; and the name of the candidate who has withdrawn is either omitted or deleted from all ballot papers”.