DISGRUNTLED members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) in Norton have thrown their weight behind independent candidate, Temba Mliswa ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections to replace Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Incidentally, Mutsvangwa who was recently recalled from Parliament and fired from Zanu PF for alleged defiance, is chairman of the war veterans’ association.
About 200 Norton-based war veterans yesterday met at Vimbai Primary School and endorsed Mliswa as their preferred candidate, but some residents have dismissed him as a “foreigner” and expressed doubts over his “independence”.
War veterans’ Norton district chairperson, Joseph Chinyangari, said they decided to turn their backs on Zanu PF in protest over the recent expulsion of their leaders from the ruling party.
“By expelling our leadership, Zanu PF has made it clear that they have nothing to do with us and likewise, we have nothing to do with them from henceforth … We unanimously agreed to back Mliswa against any Zanu PF candidate,” Chinyangani said.
Zanu PF is yet to hold primaries to choose a candidate for the by-elections, whose dates are also still to be announced. So far, Zanu PF has nine members vying to contest in its primary elections for the seat.
Another former freedom fighter, who only identified himself as Mvurumi said Norton by-elections would be a contest between war veterans backing Mliswa and Zanu PF youths and their ruling party candidate.
ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, also sided with the decision by Norton war veterans.
“We are still to get feedback from the district, but you know a lot has changed. It’s no longer the case that we only campaign for a Zanu PF candidate,” he said.
Matemadanda said previously war veterans supported Zanu PF candidates in every election without questioning, but relations have soured following their fallout with President Robert Mugabe.
Zanu PF is yet to hold primaries to choose a candidate for the by-elections, whose dates are also still to be anounced.
Meanwhile, Mliswa has accused Zanu PF of defacing his campaign posters in the town.