President Robert Mugabe and first lady Grace of Zimbabwe. Mugabe will stand for re-election on March 29.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
THE ruling Zanu-PF has taken an early lead in parliamentary elections after two of its candidates won unopposed in Mashonaland Central Province as the ruling party mulls primary reruns in some constituencies where more than one candidate successfully filed nomination papers.
Zanu-PF candidates Cde Edward Raradza and Cde Damien Mumvuri were unopposed when they filed their nomination papers in Muzarabani South House of Assembly and Rushinga Senate constituencies respectively at the Nomination Court that sat in Bindura at the weekend.
This means the ruling party is already in the lead 40 days before the actual polling on March 29.
Cde Raradza — a farmer — is a newcomer to Parliament while Cde Mumvuri has secured a second stint as senator having first entered the Upper House in November 2005 when the Senate was re-introduced.
The parliamentary elections will be held on the same day as the presidential and council polls.
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa yesterday said the party might consider holding reruns of primary elections in some constituencies where more than one candidate from the ruling party filed nomination papers.
Cde Mutasa said the losers would be asked to withdraw their candidature with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
He was responding to questions on how the party would handle situations in which more than one candidate filed nomination papers in one constituency.
"Given the large number of such cases, we will meet as a party and deliberate on how best we can handle that. But one available option we have in some constituencies is to order a rerun in deserving cases under properly supervised conditions and ask the losing candidate to withdraw," said Cde Mutasa in an interview.
Cde Mutasa warned candidates who filed nomination papers in the name of Zanu-PF that they would not become parliamentarians should they win, as long as they were not the party’s official candidates.
He said it would have been prudent for them to stand as independents and not on a ruling party ticket as soon as they realised they were not the party’s official candidates.
"The rules are clear that you cannot come to Parliament when you have been expelled from the party which you are purporting to represent. Better go into the election as an independent because even if you win I will just write a letter to Parliament that you have been expelled from our party," said Cde Mutasa.
He attributed some of the double nominations to indiscipline.
"Indiscipline can even be seen among senior party members and that cannot be accepted," he said.
Constituencies where more than one Zanu-PF candidate filed papers include Masvingo Central and Makoni West (House of Assembly), and Masvingo and Chivi-Mwenezi (Senate).
In Masvingo Central, Cde Eddison Zvobgo (Junior) registered to contest against the official Zanu-PF candidate, Cde Edmund Mhere.
Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire and Cde Maina Mandava both registered to contest on a Zanu-PF ticket for the Masvingo Senate seat while Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi registered to challenge Cde Josiah Hungwe for the Chivi-Mwenezi Senate seat.
Cde Nation Madongorere filed his papers to contest against official party candidate Cde Joseph Made in the Makoni West House of Assembly constituency.
Cde Mutasa said losing candidates in some constituencies were giving implausible arguments to justify their actions.
Soon after successfully filing their nomination papers,some Zanu-PF candidates wasted no time in launching their election campaigns.
Among them was Vice President Joice Mujuru who went on the campaign trail for the newly created Mt Darwin East House of Assembly constituency in Dotito at the weekend.
Addressing a gathering at the rally, Cde Mujuru castigated Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who were bent on criticising Government for the hardships people were facing yet they were the ones who called for the imposition of illegal economic sanctions against the country by the West.
ZBC-News quoted Cde Mujuru as saying the sanctions were to blame for the suffering Zimbabweans were enduring presently.
She urged people to vote for Zanu-PF in next month’s elections to preserve the country’s sovereignty and heritage.
Zanu-PF candidate for Harare South and Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Cde Hubert Nyanhongo called for peace and unity of purpose at his first campaign rally.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters at Retreat School in the constituency yesterday, Cde Nyanhongo said divisions and differences that might have been caused by primary elections should now be buried and efforts concentrated on the March 29 poll.
"Zimbabweans should maintain peace before and after elections and shun violence. We also encourage both factions of the MDC to do the same," said Cde Nyanhongo.
He urged party supporters to continue rallying behind candidates who were elected in the just-ended primary elections.
Cde Nyanhongo said people should rally behind President Mugabe as the leader of the party because it was through his leadership that independence was won and peace is being enjoyed in Zimbabwe.
"Let us now put our weight behind our party candidates and President Mugabe and make sure that we win this election resoundingly," said Cde Nyanhongo.
Speaking at the same occasion, aspiring senator for Mvurachena Cde Miriam Chikukwa said politicians should focus more on selling their development ideas to the electorate than fanning violence.
She said decent accommodation was top on her priorities.
"We should not waste time giving empty promises to the electorate. The electorate wants to see progress on the ground on issues such as accommodation and we will work together as Zanu-PF to see that those pertinent issues are met," she said.
Chairman of Apex, an umbrella body for 22 housing co-operatives at Retreat Farm, Cde Tonderai Nkomo, said a proposal for the allocation of stands by the City of Harare was already in place and just awaiting implementation.
He said 5 554 stands would be ready for allocation this week.
Zanu-PF candidate for the Chitungwiza Senate constituency Cde Mary Chakanyuka also urged ruling party supporters to bury the hatchet in the primaries and rally behind nominated party candidates.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign for the Zanu-PF council candidate in Ward 25, Cde Luke Maworera, in Chitungwiza yesterday, Cde Chakanyuka said those who lost in the primaries should lend their support to winning candidates and avoid causing instability in the party.
"Zanu-PF has a clear constitution that guides its operations. As a result, it will only field one candidate in any election. Now that the primary elections are over, I urge those who lost in the primaries to rally behind the winning candidates for the good of the party. True party cadres follow party guidelines and procedures and do not rebel," she said.
She also called on churches to work towards developing the country and not against the wishes of people.
"Churches should lead in championing the aspirations of our people that include development and independence. We are suffering because of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West at the instigation of the MDC leader (Mr Morgan Tsvangirai) and it is the duty of churches to highlight such facts," she said.
Cde Maworera said he had joined the race to stand as councillor so as to bring back development in the area that has been lagging since the MDC took over the ward in 2000.
"Although I am still campaigning, I have already started developmental projects that include renovating toilets at Makoni Shopping Centre. With the help of council, I intend to construct more toilets at the centre. I have also put in place a comprehensive programme that will see us filling potholes at the shopping centres and council collecting refuse frequently," Cde Maworera said.
The party’s candidate for the Chitungwiza North House of Assembly seat, Cde Joyce Kunaka, appealed for unity of purpose among party members for the country to surge ahead with development.
"Let us work together as a party not only for the good of the area, but also the country so that we can shame our detractors and help regain the seat for the ruling party," Cde Kunaka said.
Zanu-PF record speaks for itself
EDITOR — The Internet and privately-owned media are awash with theorists writing about the forthcoming elections to be held on March 29.
Many of the contributors appear keen to tell the ordinary Zimbabwean voter how bad Zanu-PF is, forgetting that we have the most intelligent electorate in Africa.
The Zimbabwean voter went through a very difficult period under settler rule until our young people took up arms to fight a bitter war against the Smith regime.
The rural voter bore the brunt of this war of liberation.
Many children who witnessed that war have come of age and can exercise their vote.
They can never forget what they went through.
An old lady in Chiweshe explained her feelings to writer in this way:
"Our lives were subjected to inhuman treatment in protected villages, which were actually internment camps. Our cattle and villages were lost.
"When the boys (freedom fighters) freed us, we were happy to rebuild our villages and our lives.
"Today we have borehole water at our doorsteps and Blair toilets. No children are dying of dysentery.
"All this has been made possible because of the freedom we enjoy to do things for ourselves.
"Others were allocated land which the white people had kept for themselves. I do not need to be persuaded to vote for Zanu-PF."
Another old man was equally emphatic, saying he did not expect to receive a salary or a handout from the Government or to go on strike but to use his hands to build his life.
He educated all his six children who send money and other goods while he still tills the land with his wife.
"Muzukuru, I have a good life here at my homestead. Look at the cattle and the goats," he said.
In the cities there is a different electorate altogether.
They have seen factories closing, leading to job losses and inflation eating into their salaries.
But the irony of the situation is that while the rural people are getting on with their lives and are appreciative of Government policies, the urban people are unhappy.
What the urban people do not appreciate is that the policy of giving land to the people is the reason why countries like Britain and the United States are punishing Zimbabwe with sanctions.
One Western ambassador explained the purpose of sanctions, saying: "Your Government is violating property rights and human rights. Well, I do not mean the taking of cars or houses, but violating land rights without compensation."
On being asked whether the whites paid compensation to Africans for the land they stole or observed human rights, his reply was: "Oh, well, the African people did not have the skills to work the land at that time."
I rest my case for Zanu-PF.