From George Maponga in Masvingo—
The ruling Zanu-PF party will once again square off with the embattled ZimPF party in the forthcoming Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election after candidates from the two parties were part of the four aspirants who filed their nomination papers at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Mwenezi-based businessman and property developer, Cde Joosbi Omar (60) successfully filed his papers to represent Zanu-PF in the Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election.
He will compete with former Masvingo provincial affairs Minister Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who is on a ZimPF ticket. Cde Omar won the Zanu-PF primary elections in Mwenezi East after garnering nearly 6 000 votes in a gruelling contest against 12 other ruling party candidates.
Two other candidates who successfully filed their nomination papers are Mr Welcome Masuku of the National Constitutional Assembly and Mr Turner Mhango of Free Zimbabwe Congress Party.
The nomination officer, who is also the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Masvingo provincial elections officer Mr Zex Pudurai announced that four candidates had successfully filed papers to contest the Mwenezi East by-election at the close of the nomination process at 4pm, on Friday.
“Since more than one candidate successfully filed their papers before this court, a by-election will be held in Mwenezi East on 8 April 2017,’’ said Mr Pudurai.
The by-election will be held to fill a vacancy created by the death of Cde Joshua Moyo in December last year.
Cde Moyo had won a by-election following the sacking of Mr Bhasikiti from the ruling party.
Mr Bhasikiti had been elected Mwenezi East legislator on a Zanu-PF ticket before his expulsion for his links with Dr Joice Mujuru.
Dr Mujuru wanted to illegally topple President Mugabe.
Speaking after the nomination process, Cde Omar expressed confidence that he would help Zanu-PF retain the Mwenezi East seat.
“I am more than 100 percent certain of victory in Mwenezi East, and I have lined up a number of programmes to engender development in Mwenezi East in the coming few weeks,’’ he said.
“By virtue of being a property developer, my top priority is to upgrade the road network in the constituency so that people can easily move from one point to another. I will also look to improve the quality of water by ensuring general cleanliness in the wake of a typhoid scare in Mwenezi East in the recent past. Victory is certain,’’ said Cde Omar.
He said the high turnout during the primary election, where over 11 000 ruling party members participated indicated that Mwenezi East was a Zanu-PF stronghold. His counterpart Mr Bhasikiti also expressed confidence of winning and dismissed claims that he was not justified to contest the by-election using the ZimPF banner.
“As the founding members of ZimPF together with the likes of Messers (Didymus) Mutasa, (Rugare) Gumbo, we are the rightful custodians of the party. That is why I successfully filed my papers with ZEC to contest in Mwenezi East,’’ he said.
“We have since written to (ZimPF leader Dr) Mujuru advising her to stop using the ZimPF name and if she defies, we will seek an interdict at the courts. As I speak right now, plans are afoot to have a ZimPF interim president and we will have one by the end of next week,’’ added Mr Bhasikiti.
He said Dr Mujuru was free to contest for the leadership of ZimPF when the party finally holds its elective congress.
NCA spokesperson Mr Madock Chivasa said his party was expecting better fortunes in Mwenezi East compared to the disastrous showing in the Bikita West parliamentary by-election.
Last month, Zanu-PF emphatically retained the Bikita West parliamentary seat, after its candidate Cde Beauty Chabaya polled 13 156 votes, against four other candidates, ZimPF included.