DISGRUNTLED Zanu PF supporters in Manicaland province have threatened to vote for the opposition after their preferred candidates were disqualified from contesting the ruling party’s primary elections.
The party members are demanding national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje to intervene and order a fresh candidate vetting exercise.
This came as hundreds of Zanu PF supporters protested at Gurure Secondary School in Makoni South district on Saturday following reports that aspiring candidate Misheck Mataranyika had been disqualified for being a newcomer to the constituency.
The development also followed complaints that some party officials eyeing certain constituencies were pulling out their rivals’ CVs to protect their turf during the selection process.
“We have heard that Misheck Mataranyika has been disqualified for no apparent reason. He has been supporting us in our projects for several years, we are calling the national political commissar to come and solve the matter,” said a Zanu PF activist who declined to be named for security reasons.
Headman Lia Mupambawashi said all aspiring candidates should be accorded the space to contest in the primaries.
“We are saying that all those with capabilities should contest in the primaries, we have known Mataranyika long back and we are aware what he is capable of doing,” he said.
A war veteran, Never Chikara, said Rugeje should come and solve the CVs issue as the party risked losing candidates who enjoy grassroots support.
In Mutare North, councillors aligned to sitting MP Batsirai Pemhenayi were also reportedly disqualified on flimsy charges.
Candidates with interest in Chikanga/Dangamvura constituency alleged that sitting MP Esau Mupfumi was trying to block them.
Over five candidates have filed to challenge Mupfumi and some have fallen by the wayside, with local businessman Kenneth Muchina being disqualified for failing to meet the selection criteria.
A source told NewsDay yesterday that the vetting process lacked transparency.
“The vetting of CVs was not in good faith. How can an interested party preside over other candidates. If they want to disqualify you they just put an adverse comment about you, for example saying that you are an ally of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
“If you do not give kick-backs the provincial leadership will try by all means to disqualify you,” the source said.
In Headlands constituency, there were reports of attempts to block young turk Farai Mapfumo who is set to challenge incumbent Christopher Chingosho in the primaries slated for next month.
Similar complaints have been raised in Chipinge South, Central and Nyanga North constituencies.
Zanu PF Manicaland political commissar Gift Kwageda insisted that no candidate would be disqualified, saying the national selection committee had the final say.
“What the district does is it follows the vetting process and submit with their comment to election commission led by the national political commissar. The district even the province have no right to disqualify the candidates. You are disqualified in Harare not here in the province,’’ he said.
Provincial administration secretary Kenneth Saruchera last week told journalists that disqualified candidates were free to appeal to the party’s national elections directorate.