GWERU - Two Chirimhanzu-Zibagwe Zanu PF candidates have pulled out of the by-election race, leaving Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia without internal challenge.
The Nomination Court is scheduled to sit on January 29, with the by-election slated for March 27.
The withdrawal of the two Zanu PF candidates means that the ruling party will no longer hold primary elections to chose candidates for the Chirimhanzu-Zibagwe seat.
Violet Nhare, Zanu PF provincial commissar for the Women’s League, and Erasmus Chaya, the deputy national secretary for Transport in the Youth League, who submitted their CVs last week, yesterday pulled out of the internal contest.
The by-election has been called to fill the vacancy created in the constituency following the elevation of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the vice presidency after the party’s congress held last month.
Cornelius Mpereri, Zanu PF Midlands spokesperson, confirmed the withdrawal of the two.
“The two comrades withdrew,” Mpereri told the Daily News.
“So this means we will no longer hold primary elections because we have a sole candidate. They said they respect Cde Mnangagwa. The constituency needs someone with the capacity and the only person with such capacity is Auxillia Mnangagwa because the VP will be there to chip in.”
He said the party was now awaiting the confirmation of Auxillia’s candidature by the Nomination Court.
Mnangagwa’s wife thanked Nhare and Chaya for withdrawing their candidature.
“I want to thank my friends for withdrawing,” she told the Daily News. “They found me worthy to represent the party.”
She said her husband’s elevation has made her political career easy, recalling how she lost in the past.
“I have been trying for many years to have a constituency. I also tried in Mazowe and failed,” she said.
Major opposition parties have indicated they would boycott the elections if the voter register was not availed.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has said it would not legitimise electoral fraud by participating in an election without a voters’ roll.
Jacob Mafume, the MDC renewal team spokesperson, said his party would also not participate in sham elections.
“It is an abuse of the term election and we will not dignify that sham,” he said.
“It is a mockery, so we will watch the tragic comedy from a safe distance because we have had thousands of so-called elections that have benefited no-one but a cabal of individuals who are getting new cars and other perks.”
Another MDC outfit led by Welshman Ncube, however, said it would participate in the by-elections, arguing that boycotting would give Zanu PF a free ride.
While acknowledging that the contest would not be fair, Nhlahla Dube, the party’s spokesperson, expressed fear that the ruling party would continue to monopolise political space knowing that they would not be challenged through an election.
“We will never give Zanu PF breathing space, so we remain committed to contesting every election even if we are aware that it gives the regime another opportunity to Nikuv,” Dube said.
Nikuv is an Israeli IT firm accused by the opposition of rigging the 2013 harmonised poll, although Nikuv has trashed the allegations.
Dube also complained that the voters’ roll remained “in the hands of Zanu PF functionaries.”
This comes as Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa has taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to court for failing to furnish the opposition party with a copy of the electronic voters’ roll.
Dabengwa accused the electoral body and the Registrar-General’s (RG) office of conniving to deny him the voter register.
He argued that the voters’ roll must be availed in line with Section 21, Subsection 6(a) of the Electoral Act which states that: “Within a reasonable period of time after nomination day, the commission (Zec) shall provide free of charge, to every nominated candidate, one copy in electronic form, of the constituency voters’ roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been nominated.”