Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
At least nine aspiring candidates will lock horns in primary elections to select a candidate to represent Zanu-PF in the Norton parliamentary constituency by-election. The seat fell vacant following the expulsion and subsequent recall from Parliament of Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa for causing divisions in the party and denigrating the party leadership. Comrades Ronald Chindedza, Margaret Zvinavashe, Bybit Tsomondo, Joyce Marufu Mukazhi, Simon Sibindi, Langton Mutendereki, Nyarai Makamba, Flavian Charumbira and Dr Godfrey Chikowore successfully filed their nomination papers.
Their names were considered by the Mashonaland West provincial executive before they sailed through the coordinating committee at the weekend. At least three of the candidates progressed through a constitutionally guaranteed waiver, having served in the civil service.
These include Dr Chikowore, who is a long-serving lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, and Cde Zvinavashe, who has served 22 years in the Air Force of Zimbabwe, and Cde Sibiya, who has also served several years as a public servant.
The waiver allows those in the civil service who cannot hold political positions simultaneously with their Government duties to contest in primary elections. Provincial chairman Cde Ephraim Chengeta, who chaired the provincial elections directorate, said the names of the candidates would be forwarded to national headquarters for further consideration.
“We have satisfied ourselves as a province of the work we have done to consider the candidates, guided by the constitution. We now await the final list after consideration by our superiors,” he said.
The decision was reached after heated debate with some candidates admitted through waivers saying they had to demonstrate their commitment and loyalty to the party prior to seeking political office.
However, others said the will of the people would prevail at the primary elections. “We don’t want to shoot down people who may be wanted by the electorate,” said an official.
Others were of the view that the list had to be trimmed as a cost cutting measure. Cde Chengeta said the party wanted to retain the seat by winning the by-election resoundingly. The dates for the primary elections and proclamation of the election date are yet to be finalised.
The successful Zanu-PF candidate is expected to square it off with candidates from other parties including former provincial chairman Mr Temba Mliswa, who has thrown his hat into the ring.