HomeLocal NewsZanu PF risks Bikita West protest election

Zanu PF risks Bikita West protest election


Zanu PF faces a protest vote in the Bikita West by-election to be held on January 21, after accusations that the party had imposed Beauty Chabaya as its candidate, leaving many disgruntled supporters saying they would rather vote for the opposition, a move reminiscent of the 2008 bhora musango voting patterns.

By Tatenda Chitagu

The bhora musango phenomenon was a feature of the 2008 elections, where Zanu PF members reportedly did not vote for President Robert Mugabe and imposed candidates.

Top Zanu PF officials in Bikita West and ordinary party members said to be aligned to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction have accused their G40 rivals of imposing Chabaya as the ruling party’s candidate ahead of Elias Musakwa and Gibson Mashingaidze.

“Chabaya was imposed on us, and we will go the Norton way,” a top Zanu PF official, who declined to be named, said, alluding to last year’s Norton by-election, where independent candidate, Temba Mliswa beat a Zanu PF candidate, who had reportedly been imposed by the commissariat department.

“You are a journalist and I am sure you should make your analysis. Musakwa garnered around 6 000 votes in the 2013 polls, but he was defeated in the primaries. How can that be? Chabaya is little known, how could she beat the likes of Mashingaidze?”

Musakwa had previously been disqualified from contesting the party primaries in preparation for the by-election over his alleged links to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, before being given a new lease of life after Zanu PF made a volte-face just before the party primaries, which Chabaya won.

Another source said apart from the questionable party primaries, the area’s former legislator, convicted rapist, Munyaradzi Kereke’s supporters are bitter about his incarceration, with some saying this was a result of factionalism.

“To the ordinary person here, unlike some of you who are learned, they were fed with the propaganda that Kereke’s jailing this was due to factionalism. Whether it is true or not, they believe that and they are bitter,” she said.

Mnangagwa alluded to the rigging and candidate imposition claims when he addressed a rally at Nyika growth point.

Mnangagwa, in a politically loaded statement with factional innuendos, said: “I only came to know of Chabaya after (political commissar, Saviour) Kasukuwere came to the politiburo and announced that she was our candidate for Bikita West.

“I knew her mother, whom we worked with years back in the party. I then said, if she is the one chosen by the people, so be it. There were many others who also wanted to contest.”

Zanu PF provincial chairperson, Amasa Nenjana, also linked to the G40 faction, however, rubbished the protest vote fears.

“I do not think those saying that are Zanu PF people. How can a Zanu PF member plot against a fellow Zanu PF member? If that is the case, then they will no longer be Zanu PF,” he said.

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