From George Maponga in MASVINGO
Ruling Zanu-PF is set for a landslide victory in next month’s Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election with its main nemesis, ZimPF, failing to hold rallies in the constituency owing to lack of support as voting day draws closer.
The embattled ZimPF, along with the NCA and Free Zimbabwe Congress party, have been struggling to hold campaign rallies ahead of the by-election with only Zanu-PF visible in the area.
The Mwenezi East parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of Zanu-PF National Assembly member Cde Joshua Moyo in December last year.
Businessman Cde Joosbi Omar of Zanu-PF will wrestle with ex-Masvingo provincial affairs Minister Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti of ZimPF, Mr Turner Mhango of Free Zimbabwe Congress Party and Mr Welcome Masuku of NCA in the April 8 poll.
Cde Omar yesterday said everything pointed to an emphatic victory for Zanu-PF.
“It’s a walkover for the revolutionary Zanu-PF here (Mwenezi East) because ever since we started campaigning, we never came across our opponents on the campaign trail.
“They are nowhere to be seen and it’s a foregone conclusion that we will definitely bag Mwenezi East with an even bigger margin than the previous elections,’’ he said.
Zanu-PF Mwenezi Central Committee member Cde Tafadzwa Shumba echoed Cde Omar’s sentiments saying the revolutionary party wanted to send a clear message to political rivals that Mwenezi was a “no go area’’.
“We are preparing for the best, we are busy on the ground campaigning and our aim is to win with a vote that has never been recorded in the history of elections since 1980.
“We want to garner so many votes that all the other political parties will know that Mwenezi is a no go area for them,’’ he said.
Cde Shumba said the ruling party wanted to amass votes that would send a direct message to opposition leaders such as MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his National People’s Party counterpart Dr Joice Mujuru that a far much bigger disaster awaited them in the 2018 general elections.
Mr Bhasikiti conceded that his party had failed to hold even a single rally ahead of the by-election saying the move was a strategy.
“I am going to win in Mwenezi East otherwise what is the point of getting into an election if I know I will lose,’’ he said.
“We have not held any rally here not because of lack of support as our rivals are saying, but it is because we do not want our supporters to be known by our rivals.
“We are doing door-to-door campaigns and we have never applied to hold any rally and we will never do that. How does Zanu-PF know that the people who attend its rallies are its supporters?’’ said Mr Bhasikiti.
He accused Zanu-PF of vote buying by giving people rice and maize ahead of the by-election.
Officially launching the ruling party campaign in Mwenezi East last week, Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, defended distribution of food and agricultural inputs to people ahead of elections saying it was the duty of the governing party to make sure people were catered for.
Zanu-PF has been winning all the by-elections held post the 2013 harmonised elections bar the Norton seat that was won by independent candidate Mr Temba Mliswa amid complaints the ruling party candidate in the by-election had been imposed on the people.