A storm has erupted in Harare South constituency ahead of tomorrow’s blood and thunder Zanu PF primary elections after one of the candidates was inexplicably disqualified and replaced with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s nephew, Tongai.
Curiously, Tongai Mnangagwa was also previously omitted from the list and led demonstrations last week with his supporters besieging the Zanu PF Headquarters in protest over why he had been disqualified from the list of candidates vying for a ticket to represent Zanu PF in this year’s parliamentary elections.
Yesterday, angry placard-waving supporters of the disqualified candidate — Elliot Piki stormed Daily News offices to alert the newsroom on developments in the volatile constituency — ahead of the much-anticipated Zanu PF internal polls tomorrow.
Piki is a well-regarded former soldier who was widely tipped to win tomorrow’s primaries.
Waving placards emblazoned “VP Chiwenga have you forgotten Piki”, “Piki War Vet Soldier reZimbabwe” and “No to imposition of candidates”, the protesters toy-toyed threatening Bhora Musango if their grievances were not addressed.
They went on to petition the ruling party’s commissariat department, Chiwenga and Mnangagwa protesting the disqualification of Piki from running in Sunday’s primary elections.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were fruitless as his phone was not reachable.
“The criteria set out for candidates should be applied fairly without fear or favour. How can a candidate who has all the credentials be disqualified?
“The party should not be a hub of personal differences, we say no to vendettas. Primary elections are a means of making people make their choice, why would the party impose candidates by being biased against others?
“A member of Parliament will represent the people so it is the people who should be allowed to make their selection … let the candidate’s fate be decided in voting race.
“What type of vetting is it that removes a person from a race who is fit to do what is required and replace with one who does not have the full credentials?
“Thirteen candidates submitted CVs and the one whom you know is poised to win the primary election has been removed in order to pave way for your choice.
“He is our choice for both primary and general elections,” wrote Piki’s supporters in a petition shown to the Daily News.
A number of sitting MPs have been inexplicably disqualified from tomorrow’s primary elections chief among them Epworth legislator Zalerah Makari, a relative of the former president Robert Mugabe.
Several Zanu PF heavyweights who include Cabinet ministers could fall by the wayside in the primary elections tomorrow.
There has been so much interest in the Zanu PF primaries which this year attracted thousands of aspiring MPs.
The looming make-or-break national elections have generated such interest among the country’s political parties that a number of opposition leaders are set to contest Mnangagwa in the presidential plebiscite.
The emergence of Nelson Chamisa in particular as the new MDC leader appears to have energised opposition supporters, especially the youths who see him as a viable alternative to Mnangagwa.
The polls themselves will be the first in the past two decades not to feature Mugabe and the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), about 60 percent of the 5,3 million people who have registered to vote in the crucial polls are between the ages of 18 and 40 — statistics which have galvanised both opposition parties and the youths to dream bigger.