Disgruntled Zanu PF supporters in Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency have threatened to vote for the opposition after their preferred candidate was replaced by a youth leader who reportedly has the blessings of the First Family.
Businessman Chrispen Tomu won the party’s primary elections, but former provincial youth chairman Prosper Machando declared himself candidate for the constituency, claiming he had the blessings of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family.
On Thursday, NewsDay witnessed Machando holding a campaign rally in Mvuma, where he said he was the candidate for the constituency despite Tomu having won the primary elections.
Machando, however, declined to comment on why he had imposed himself in the constituency despite losing in the party’s internal polls.
But Zanu PF supporters said they were going to vote for an opposition candidate if Machando is allowed to stand as Chirumanzu-Zibagwe candidate.
“We are not happy that after we exercised our right to vote for our preferred candidate; he (Machando) has declared himself the candidate for Chirumanzu-Zibagwe,” a Zanu PF youth activist, who declined to be named for security reasons, said.
“Machando is moving around saying he has the blessings of the First Family to be the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe candidate. We are surprised as to how the First Family can impose a candidate on us when we can chose our own candidates.”
Another activist said if Machando is imposed on the constituency, she would vote for Mnangagwa in the presidential election and an opposition candidate in the parliamentary polls.
“We are surprised that the First Family’s name is being dragged in the mud,” she said.
“What we know is that Tomu comes from the constituency and he is our preferred candidate. We cannot understand why Machando is moving around campaigning saying he has the blessings of the First Family.”
Several other ruling party members voiced the same concerns and threatened to vote for the opposition should Machando be imposed on them.