Tawanda Mangoma in CHIREDZI
ZANU-PF Masvingo has suspended two prospective candidates from Chiredzi district for openly canvassing to be nominated as Member of Parliament representatives before the party had granted the greenlight for candidates to begin campaigning. The party believes such campaigns have the potential to divide the party ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.
The duo – Cde Farai Musikavanhu, former Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe director of agriculture; and Cde Roy Bhila, the secretary-general of the Commercial Sugarcane Farmers of Zimbabwe – had allegedly rolled out their campaigns in Chiredzi West and Chiredzi North constituencies, respectively. Addressing ZANU-PF supporters during an inter-district meeting in Chiredzi on Tuesday, Masvingo’s provincial political commissar Cde Jeppy Jaboon said the sitting legislators had raised alarm over the creation of parallel structures in their constituencies.
“We received reports that two people, Farai Musikavanhu and Roy Bhila, have already started campaigning here in Chiredzi as ZANU-PF candidates for 2018. The province has, however, found them guilty of violating party procedures which prohibit the start of campaigns when the party hasn’t said so. It is in this regard that we suspend them from continued abuse of the party’s name because we want a party which has law-abiding mem- bers.”
Meanwhile, speaking during same meeting, the party’s provincial chairperson, Cde Veronica Makonese, challenged Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Masvingo Cde Paul Chimedza to look at the continued eviction of widows from sugarcane plots. Cde Makonese accused Cde Bhila of evicting Mrs Esinath Stockhill from her sugarcane plot, prompting the collapse of Rudo Isimba Old People Home, which she used to support.
“We told the (Zimbabwe) Lands Commission that we want Mai Stockhill to be given back her sugarcane plot, whose revenue was used for the upkeep of old people at Rudo Isimba in Mkwasine. We cannot watch when the old people are now being forced to work in sugarcane plots just because their source of food was grabbed by someone who already had another plot,” she said.
Cde Bhila, however, dismissed the allegation, saying he had an offer letter that was issued three years ago entitling him to carry out operations at the contentious plot. Dr Chimedza said he will make a follow-up on the matter.