George Maponga in MASVINGO
Businessman Cde Joosbi Omar will represent Zanu-PF in the Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election after he polled nearly 6 000 votes to out-poll 12 other candidates in ruling party primary elections that ended late on Tuesday night in the constituency.
Cde Omar will file his papers on a Zanu-PF ticket at the nomination court for the Mwenezi East by-election that sits at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court today.
The by-election will be held to fill the vacancy left after the death of Cde Joshua Moyo in December last year, who was the Zanu-PF legislator for the constituency.
Cde Moyo was elected Mwenezi East Member of Parliament after the sacking of ex-Masvingo provincial affairs Minister Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti from Zanu-PF. Mr Bhasikiti has since joined the troubled ZimPF and also won controversial primary elections to represent his party in the by-election.
Cde Omar won the Zanu-PF primaries in Mwenezi after polling 5 901 votes, compared to his nearest rival Cde Marvellous Chifumuro, who managed 1 434 votes.
Cde Patrick Mandebvu was third with 1 338 votes, with Cde Jabulani Mberesi coming fourth after polling 1 222 votes.
Cde Cuthbert Muzara came a distant fifth after amassing 543 votes.
Other candidates who contested the by-election were Cdes Elvanos Dube (351 votes), Timittah Chishamba (251), Francis Mapisa (244), Elliam Moyo (152), Sifana Ngavaite (90), Takura Mudavose (77), Dickson Mazivire (55) and Sikhulekile Moyo (44).
Senior Zanu-PF Masvingo Politburo member Cde Josaya Hungwe welcomed Cde Omar’s victory, saying the ruling party will soon hit the ground running in Mwenezi East.
“Cde Omar will represent our party in the Mwenezi East by-election after he came out tops in the primaries and he will file his papers when the nomination court sits tomorrow (today),’’ he said.
“We are more than ready for the Mwenezi East by-election and we will crush whatever comes our way because we are a people’s party. We want to reclaim Mwenezi East the same way we did in Bikita West in January, nothing will stop us.’’
Cde Hungwe said they will start campaigning once elections dates have been announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Cde Omar once served as the Masvingo chairperson of the National Economic Consultative Forum and contested the 2008 elections in Masvingo Urban on a Zanu-PF ticket, but lost to Mr Tongai Matutu of the MDC-T.
He then tried his lucky for the second time in Masvingo Urban, but lost to incumbent Zanu-PF Member of Parliament Cde Daniel Shumba in the party primaries held before the 2013 elections.
Cde Omar then traced his routes to Mwenezi, where he revived participation in active Zanu-PF politics in the area, leading to his victory in the primaries.