George Maponga in Masvingo
All is set for the Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election today, with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday saying it has set up 62 polling stations where voters will cast their ballots.
Businessman Cde Joosbi Omar of the ruling Zanu-PF, Mr Turner Mhango of Free Zimbabwe Congress Party and Mr Welcome Masuku of NCA – will battle it out for the right to represent Mwenezi East in the House of Assembly.
Former Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti of ZimPF chickened out of the race after his papers had been accepted by the Nomination Court.
ZEC Masvingo provincial officer Mr Zex Pudurai said yesterday that Mr Bhasikiti’s name would not appear on the ballot paper.
He pulled out on spurious allegations that Zanu-PF was intimidating his supporters and engaging in vote buying.
Prior to that, Mr Bhasikiti had failed to hold even a single rally owing to lack of support.
The by-election was necessitated by the death of Zanu-PF House of Assembly representative Mr Joshua Moyo in December last year.
Mr Pudurai said everything was in place for the by-election.
‘’We have finished deployment of polling officers and agents across all the 62 polling stations that will be open for voting (on Saturday),’’ he said.
‘’Voting will start at 7am and close at 7pm, and all the materials have been moved and are now in place. We are very happy with the peaceful environment that is prevailing in Mwenezi East before the actual voting kicks off.’’
Mr Pudurai said poll results would be announced soon after collation at the command centre at the Roman Catholic Church-owned Sacred High School at Rutenga Growth Point.
Zanu-PF has already indicated that it is a foregone conclusion that it would retain the seat, but the revolutionary party was more concerned with securing a landslide as the party gears for next year’s harmonised elections.
Addressing a rally to drum up support for Cde Omar at Avhunga Secondary School in Rutenga last Saturday, Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo challenged the ruling party to make sure the candidate amassed more than 38 000 votes.
Zanu-PF has won all the by-elections held since the 2013 elections, with the exception of Norton constituency won by independent candidate Temba Mliswa.