Walter Nyamukondiwa Mashonaland West Bureau Zanu-PF Central Committee member Dr Philip Chiyangwa has thrown his name into the ring to represent the ruling party in Chinhoyi constituency and has pledged to wrest the seat from the opposition MDC-T. Dr Chiyangwa, who lost elections for the same seat in 2013, said he will help galvanise the party to correct mistakes that led to his defeat. “Let it be known today that Dr Philip Chiyangwa will stand in the 2018 harmonised elections. I know I have all that is needed in terms of requirements by the party to represent it. We were caught off guard by the MDC-T who bussed in people from outside Chinhoyi to vote, but this time around we are wiser. That seat must return to Zanu-PF,” he said while addressing a Zanu-PF Makonde inter-district meeting at the district offices in Chinhoyi yesterday.
Out of the 22 parliamentary seats in Mashonaland West in 2013, Zanu-PF won all except for Chinhoyi. Dr Chiyangwa said he wanted to atone for the loss and hand President Mugabe a resounding victory in the constituency. While acknowledging the dynamics of the predominantly urban constituency, Dr Chiyangwa said with unity and hard work, Chinhoyi would return to Zanu-PF.
At least four other aspiring candidates are soliciting for votes through various activities in Chinhoyi. Dr Chiyangwa warned those who were prematurely committing themselves financially to bolster their campaign that they risked falling foul of the party criteria. Party Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo is on record as warning people against campaigning, saying the party’s only confirmed candidate for the 2018 plebiscite was President Mugabe.
Dr Chombo said the party had not yet laid out the criteria for candidates and aspiring candidates should allow incumbents to finish their terms. Once spelt out, aspiring candidates would be allowed to express their interest and start campaigning.
The Makonde inter-district meeting reaffirmed Politburo member Cde Prisca Mupfumira and Dr Chiyangwa as their senior members ahead of the Extraordinary Congress in December. Said Cde Tony Mwanza: “As a district we do not want any changes to the line of senior members. That means that Cdes Chiyangwa and Mupfumira retain their positions. Cde Mupfumira was appointed Politburo member by the President after being chosen by us (Makonde district) as our Central Committee member.”