ZANU-PF Epworth Ward 1 councillor, Elina Mazhandu, has quit the ruling party to join the New Patriotic Front (NPF), believed to have strong links to former president Robert Mugabe.
Mazhandu cited widespread harassment and threats on her life by Zanu-PF members allegedly led by ruling party Epworth youth leader, Kudakwashe Damson, who is the party’s parliamentary candidate for Epworth in the forthcoming elections.
Damson has refuted the claims, saying he was actually a victim of violence.
“My brother citizens in Epworth are angry at the councillors and sitting Member of Parliament for failing to protect their interests.
“These people are hiding behind my name when it’s clear that the people no longer want them,” he said.
Mazhandu, however, insisted she had been deemed a Generation 40 (G40) member after playing a prominent role at the funeral of former Cabinet minister Amos Midzi in 2015, which saw rival Zanu-PF factions clashing over control of the proceedings.
She said she was also being persecuted for a song coined by her musical group prior to the November military intervention which glorified deposed leader Robert Mugabe as “God given” and “the right candidate”.
“On 10 separate occasions, I was locked inside my house in Epworth with threats that they will burn me inside.
“Everyday I am being intimidated by Damson and his team on accusations that I am a member of G40.
“But as Zanu-PF councillor, I am the same person who helped more than 19 000 people in Epworth, who did not have proof of residence receipts, to register for the upcoming elections.
“This is not the same Zanu-PF I joined when I was 15-years old. That is why I have decided to join NPF whose values are one and the same with my father (Mugabe).
“The only place I have refused to go is MDC, no, I cannot wave goodbye to my country,” she said.
Mazhandu said development efforts in Epworth were frustrated by Zanu-PF members, adding that several developmental projects such as regularisation of stands were being scuttled because of infighting in the party.
“We reported the matter to our party superiors and that caused people like Goodwills Masimirembwa to be kicked out of the party leadership because of constantly interfering with our activities.
“Sadly they are now back again to haunt us and all our pleas for the president (Emmerson Mnangagwa) to intervene have fallen on deaf ears,” Mazhandu said.