Confusion reigns in Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), as Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who was recently axed by party leader, Joice Mujuru insists he will contest the upcoming Mwenezi by-election under the organisation’s banner.
BY SILAS NKALA/BLESSED MHLANGA
“I was elected as the party candidate for the Mwenezi by-election, and I can tell you we have support from other opposition political parties, which include MDC-T, so we will be contesting in that election,” he said.
But, MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said his party would not participate in any by-election until the government implements electoral reforms to level the political playing field.
Mujuru last week announced she had axed Bhasikiti and six others, but they also turned against her and said they had fired her instead.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Joshua Moyo in December last year.
The nomination court is expected to convene on February 17 at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court for final selection of candidates.
Meanwhile, human rights watchdog, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), has condemned what it termed a sharp rise in cases of inter-party violence and intimidation of voters by suspected Zanu PF activists in Mwenezi East, ahead of the parliamentary by-election scheduled for April 8.
In its latest report, HZT said cases of violence shot up after a local Zanu PF ward chairperson, identified as Tobias Mahowa, addressed a campaign rally at Chimbudzi business centre on January 8, where he allegedly ordered villagers to bring him copies of their voter registration slips to prove they were on the voters’ roll.
“He also pointed out that if people defy his orders, Zanu PF was going to unleash a terror campaign on them,” the report said.
“On the same day, in Ward 2, Zanu PF youths, led by their ward vice-chairperson, Ezra Mashindi, moved around the ward threatening people that on February 15 (today), they should all go to the ward centre and purchase Zanu PF membership cards that cost $3.
“The youths announced that anyone, who defies the order, will not receive any food aid that comes into the ward.”
The watchdog also claimed that Zanu PF Ward 5 chairperson, Pinias Shoko, addressed another campaign rally at Chingani Primary school on February 8 threatening to unleash violence on the electorate if the ruling party loses the by-election.
“Heal Zimbabwe notes that such practices and threats ahead of the by-election are a total disregard of constitutional provision 67, which provides for political rights,” it said.
“The said provision states that ‘every citizen has the right to form, join and to participate in the activities of a political party of their choice’. Section 156 of the Constitution also compels Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to eliminate electoral violence and other electoral malpractices.”
The trust has initiated a number of peace awareness programmes in the constituency to promote peaceful campaigns by various parties contesting in the by-election.