Bikita West By-Election Divides Joice Mujuru's ZimPF

By Johannes Chin’ombe

Bikita, September 22, 2016 – FRESH squabbles have emerged in the Joice Mujuru led ZimPF party amid reports its Masvingo provincial leadership was fighting over whether to take part in the Bikita West by-election.

The seat fell vacant after Munyaradzi Kereke was recently jailed for rape.

A date for the by-election is yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a faction led by Retired Colonel Claudius Makova has gone ahead to nominate Kudakwashe Gopo as party candidate.

However, the move has not gone down well with another faction rallying behind former energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire which feels time was not ripe to participate in electoral processes.

Gopo said it made no sense that a party fails to take part in elections as if there were no legible candidates to field.

“I don’t know why some of our colleagues are denying us a chance to take part in these elections,” he told RadioVOP this week.

“How can we say we have formed a political party and not contest? Wouldn’t it be like forming a football team, go for training and come time for a match, the whole team sits in the terraces?”

ZimPF is among the opposition parties that have joined forces to demand the implementation of electoral reforms from the Zanu PF led government.

But Gopo still feels the demand for electoral reforms could be made while the party took part.

“Electoral reforms do not stop us from contesting,” he said.

“Pressure should be put towards having reforms as we fight the system from within. We also have an added advantage in taking the constituency because it was one of the first structures to be made under ZimPF banner, so we have a lot of support.”

The two factions were recently seen fighting over the party’s chairmanship post where the Mavhaire led side “unproceduraly” demoted Makova and replaced him with one William Zivenge. The move fell through.

Bad blood also emerged when the Makova led faction called for Mavhaire’s ouster for coordinating a faction he claims to be “fighting” his authority.

If ZimPF contests in the by-election, it will be the first election the Zanu PF offshoot would have taken part in elections since its formation.  

ZimPF provincial spokesperson, Retired Colonel Kudzai Mbudzi however professed ignorance over squabbles centred around possible participation in the by-election.

“What by-election? I am not aware of such a development. We never agreed in participating in the election as province. We are against contesting as agreed upon opposition parties under the National Electorate Reforms Agenda (NERA).

“I think you can get comment from Makova and company who bulldozed their way and made such arrangements,” Mbudzi said.

Provincial secretary for information and publicity, Jefferson Chitando added; “If Gopo wants to participate in the elections, why can’t he do it as an independent and save the name of the party. If he loses, he should lose as an individual not inclusive of us as party members who work towards given goals.”