Zanu PF cracks down on rebels

HARARE - Zanu PF is cracking down on individuals who filed papers as independent candidates — with some including former Harare province political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe facing jail while others risk losing their properties.

This comes as the influential Vice President Constantino Chiwenga recently warned that the heat would be turned on Mashayamombe — who is eying Harare South constituency on the MDC Alliance slate in the forthcoming elections scheduled for July 30.

Mashayamombe almost failed to submit his nomination papers on Thursday last week after he was arrested over charges of political violence he allegedly committed in 2014.

“There is a lot of intimidation, I was picked on charges emanating from 2014 on the nomination day but they found nothing against me so they said they would proceed by way of summons that is why I submitted my papers late. There is a lot of intimidation, people receiving calls and some being told that they would lose their properties if they associate with me,” Mashayamombe said yesterday.

Another independent candidate, Elliot Piki, who is eying the same seat — said he chose to stand solo because “the winning candidate Tongai Mnangagwa was imposed”.

He said there have been attempts to hound him out from a farmhouse he is currently occupying but he is unfazed.

“I am going solo, targeting Harare South, until they fire me I will always be Zanu PF, they decided to impose someone and the people chose me so I am here now. I fear nobody and I will not be susceptible to victimisation, I am ready for them. I am going to win the elections, I have been here since 2000, working for the people, my candidature is coming from the people.

“The president said no to imposition of candidates. I don’t think it is illegal for a person to choose a president of his choice and I will put the face of the president on my posters,” said Piki.

In Mutare North,  Batsirai Pemhenayi — who controversially lost the ruling party primary elections to Zanu PF provincial chairperson Mike Madiro amid allegations of massive vote rigging, said he has been inundated with calls from senior party officials telling him to step aside or face the music.

“I am standing for the people of Mutare North, they said there was no primary election and so this affords them to have the primary election that they did not have.

“In my constituency we are going to vote for...Mnangagwa but for the councillors and MP they are saying they will make their choice,” said Pemhemayi.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were fruitless while the party’s political commissar Englebert Rugeje had referred questions to the party’s spokesperson.

However, Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa have already warned the rebels that they could face the consequences.

Addressing a Zanu PF rally in Harare South last week, Chiwenga hinted that those who would dare cross the party’s line might end up in prison.

“The likes of (Shadreck) Mashayamombe should know that we will leave no stone unturned. There are no sacred cows. For now we are focusing on developing the country and doing our elections in a peaceful manner. We do not have time to chase them but we know he and other land barons caused a lot of suffering to the people.

“The police will act and they will be sent to prison. Government has instituted a land audit committee to investigate cases of housing stands disputes and the scourge of land barons and appropriate action will be taken once that committee produces its report. People will be arrested because you can’t just dupe others and get away with it,” said Chiwenga.

Prospects of a “bhora musango’’ are not only haunting the ruling party but also the opposition which has seen an unprecedented number of former legislators going on to stand as independent candidates.

Political analysts told the Daily News last week that the advent of independent candidates points to decaying democracy and imposition of people in both Zanu PF and the MDC.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said while Zanu PF has also been affected by the independent candidates’ phenomenon, it is the MDC which will be counting its losses after the elections.

“This is an interesting but unsurprising to some of us who have always said lack of internal democracy in both Zanu PF and MDC will breed independent candidates. This disadvantages MDC Alliance more than Zanu PF. Zanu PF will rig and win.

“But MDC Alliance’s threats of no reforms, no elections become hot air and child’s play when they are facing rebellion from their party for rigged and ‘unreformed’ primary elections.

“Also MDC Alliance can pull out of poll but the other 127 parties, independent candidates, 22 presidential candidates will participate in the polls.

“This reduces and isolates the MDC Alliance as an undemocratic party fighting for democratic national elections yet can’t hold its primaries democratically. It reduces them to confused political cry-babies,” said Saungweme

With only a couple of days remaining before candidates who submitted their nomination papers can withdraw, respected political analyst Eldred Masunungure said both Zanu PF and MDC will suffer as there will be an erosion of their support base.

“This reflects very much to the amount of dissatisfaction in both parties, it reflects poorly inside democracy in the two parties and it is going to have negative consequences on the parties, the number of independent candidates suggests that there will be some erosion of support for the two parties in some cases it could be critical because the party might lose because the independent candidates could split the vote, it is a part of a bhora musango in both parties,” said Masunungure.

But according to the University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer the bhora musango scenario will affect the two main parties in equal measure.

“I don’t think any of the parties would be affected on a large scale but in the strongholds of the two parties the independent candidates would not have much bearing but will be affected in areas where their support is marginal,” said Masunungure.

    Comments (1)

    Now you have said comrade Chiwenga,only those who cross the party line go to prison but those who tore the party line are sacred cows,they can steal,rape murder with impunity as long as they are still faithful to the Mafioso.Any wonder why Mnanganwa retained the same old thieves in his "wooden" cabinet?Another well known thug arrived recently from exile a few weeks ago only to be charged with a very laughable offence of border jumping when it is known that he has looted the state coffers with reckless abandon.Zanu pf is like a cartel where everyone is free to do as they wish without any consequences as long as they tore the party line.

    Luke Munya Mabika - 20 June 2018

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