Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF’s Mashonaland Central Province will hold primary elections on Saturday to choose a candidate to contest the Mt Darwin West parliamentary by-election scheduled for March 27 after the seat was left vacant by former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Similar elections are also due in Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe Constituency in the Midlands were several people have expressed an interest in replacing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa following his elevation to the position in December last year.
Former Vice President Mujuru’s constituency became vacant after she assumed the position on September 11 2013.
She has since been fired for behaviour inconsistent with her official responsibilities in the discharge of her duties, including plotting to unseat the President.
The new Constitution’s section 129(1)(c) stipulates that if a person is an MP, his or her tenure office automatically ends if he/she is appointed Vice President of Zimbabwe and the seat will become vacant with a by-election being held within 90 days in terms of section 158 (3) of the Constitution.
Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios yesterday said 14 candidates submitted their CVs to represent the party in the impending by-election.
“We are going to sit tomorrow (today) as the provincial elections directorate and deliberate on the submissions,” he said. “We will comment on the CVs and forward them to the national commissar. The national commissar will also submit his comments and will then brief all the aspiring candidates.”
Cde Mafios said no one would be denied the opportunity to contest the primary elections that will give an indication of the most popular individual to represent the party in the by-election.
He said some of the people who expressed interest to contest in the Mt Darwin West parliamentary by-election include Kenneth Banda, who is the chairman of Pfura Rural District Council, Bunny Seremwe, James Seremwe and Caleb Karima.
Cde Mafios said Cde Terry Marodza voluntarily withdrew his nomination citing the unprecedented number of people who submitted their CVs.
He said the record interest by party cadres in representing the party was testimony of the vibrant democracy it has.
The people of Mt Darwin, Cde Mafios said, were being held hostage by Dr Mujuru who had been the MP for the area since 1980.
In the Midlands province, interim chairperson Cde Kizito Chivamba said submissions of CVs for the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe parliamentary constituency will be closed tomorrow.
“The provincial election directorate will sit on Wednesday and that is when the nominations will be closed,” he said. “It is only after that meeting that I will be able to furnish you with all the names of people who would have submitted their papers.”
Apart from Cde Mnangagwa’s wife Auxilia, some other people are reported to have expressed their interest in the constituency.
President Mugabe announced the by-election date of March 27 in an extraordinary Government Gazette, saying the nomination courts would sit on January 29 to receive nomination papers of interested candidates for the two constituencies.
The President said in terms of section 46 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) the nomination courts would sit at the Magistrates Court, Main Street, Bindura and the Magistrates Courts, Main Street, Gweru.