By Jairos Saunyama
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday pleaded with Zanu PF candidates to engage traditional leaders to ensure that the party wins next month’s elections.
Addressing thousands of party supporters at Chizanga Primary School in Mutoko, Mnangagwa said prospective candidates should work with the traditional leaders and get their backing before urging party supporters to respect the chiefs and headmen.
“Let me tell you a secret, a wise MP, you prospective MPs. If you visit a chief, go with a blanket, grocery and goat,” he said.
“Tell him that you want to work in his area in a humble way. If he accepts then know that 50% is done because the chief will summon his headmen and say see my child, Emmerson Mnangagwa, I have accepted and I want you all to do likewise, help this child.
“What else do you want? Then know that you are in Parliament.
“But if you disrespect them, they will omit you in their meetings.”
A number of traditional leaders mainly from Mutoko District attended the rally.
Mnangagwa said he was aware of the chaotic manner Zanu PF primary elections were held, adding national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje was still gaining experience.
“Your leaders told me about what transpired during the primary election. I gave you a new commissar.
“The previous commissar (Saviour Kasukuwere) left as a border jumper.
“But unlike me who returned after 14 days, he returned after six months and was not welcomed. I gave you an acceptable commissar,” he said.
“We introduced internal democracy in the party and said all the candidates should be from the people not to be imposed.
“But he was duped by other senior members. He told me that he has learnt (a lesson).
“He said he is now enlightened and it will never happen again. He promised that in future the elections will be done in transparency and fairness.”
The rally was attended by senior Zanu PF officials that included vice president Constantino Chiwenga, politburo members Sydney Sekeramayi and David Parirenyatwa, among others.
Earlier Mnangagwa said government tenders should be awarded to people with expertise and warned those abusing the money that they will be arrested.
He was officially launching a solar power project by the Nyangani Renewable Energy company in Mutoko.
Mnangagwa hailed the project while revealing dissatisfaction on how Wicknell Chivayo’s Gwanda Solar project was being handled.
“We have 10MW from nowhere, and in Gwanda this is the third year now with nothing,” he said.
“In future we need to have people who have the expertise to be awarded projects of this nature not those who fly by night with briefcases. Chikurubi is not full,” he said in an apparent reference to Chivayo’s $200 million Gwanda Solar project.
The Mutoko project is feeding 2.5MW into the national grid in its first phase. Upon completion, the project on a 40ha piece of land will feed 10MW into the grid.