The uproar over alleged disqualification of preferred candidates by Zanu PF’s career politicians in the party’s provincial and district structures has forced the party’s national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje to announce that vetting of candidates was now going to be done by a committee that he chairs.
Zanu PF career politicians in Manicaland face embarrassment if politicians and businesspeople who have joined the race to represent the party are allowed to contest in the party’s primary elections due soon.
Disgruntled party members have threatened to vote for opposition candidates if Rugeje does not intervene.
Bhora musango was popularised in the 2008 harmonised elections when Zanu PF supporters voted for their preferred candidate in the council and parliamentary election but voted for an opposition presidential candidate.
In Makoni South, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters vowed that they were not going to back a candidate who is expecting to be employed through occupying political office.
They were protesting the disqualification of aspiring candidate Misheck Mataranyika, whose family they said, has been benefiting the locals through their company Nyaradzo Funeral Services.
Mataranyika was allegedly barred from contesting because his transfer was not done 12 months before vetting which locals claim was frivolous.
“We have numerous people like him whose CVs have been accepted like Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo, Mines minister Winston Chitando, Philip Chiyangwa, James Makamba, Andrew Neshamba and even our own Esau Mupfumi in 2014,” a miffed Zanu PF official said.
He said this was an attempt to protect personal interests at the expense of party and grassroots interest.
They said the party should even bar some politicians from contesting on the party ticket after they have perennially lost elections in the past instead of antagonising people they said would rejuvenate the party.
“This is our chance to recreate ourselves as Zanu PF. We need all these businesspeople and professionals to join the party because some of them were not willing to actively represent the party because of the previous toxic politics,” the official said.
“Our party should continue winning but for that to happen, we should put people who have people at heart . . . we don’t want people who want to look for employment through political office,” Laxton Chingara, a Gwangwadza District vice chairperson said during a rally.
“If possible we want Rugeje to come here and listen to our grievances . . . otherwise we are not going to the cats that you want to force us to accept,” Chingara said.
Robert Watyoka repeated the same sentiments.
“If they give us anyone else then this seat will go to Chamisa’s MDC,” Watyoka said.
Nyaradzo has been offering locals a 50-cent per month funeral policy in the area where the Mataranyika family hails from with Misheck being the company’s legal manager.
This is just a microcosm of how the province was performing ahead of the primary elections as many candidates were being barred often with interested parties presiding over the vetting processes.
In Nyanga South, it is alleged that there was an attempt to protect Supa Mandiwanzira by blocking Talent Kadzima, who has also been spearheading infrastructural development in the area.
In Headlands, it is also alleged Christopher Chingosho is being cushioned from competition by barring Farai Mapfumo.
Oliver is reported to have benefited from the same system as he is not only the sole candidate in Buhera West but also participated in candidate-vetting as a member of the provincial executive.