Zanu(PF) is panicking over the Hurungwe West poll and has lined up several politburo members to address at least four star rallies as it tries to wrestle the seat from Temba Mliswa who will contest as an independent in the June 10 by-election.
Politburo members slated for the campaigns include party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Senate president Edna Madzongwe.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Ziyambi Ziyambi confirmed the rallies that would be addressed by the party heavy weights in the constituency.
“Several politburo members will be addressing the rallies in Hurungwe West. Today [Saturday] Madzongwe is addressing a rally and the following week we will have Chombo,” Ziyambi said.
“We will hold three or four star rallies which will be addressed by other senior leaders. Every weekend from now till polling day [June 10 2015] we will be holding rallies which will be addressed by provincial members to boost the campaign for our candidate.”
Zanu PF’s overdrive campaign in the constituency is despite the fact that Mliswa stopped physically visiting the constituency after ruling party youths attacked him and his supporters soon after he successfully filed his nomination papers in the constituency.
Former Affirmative Action Group president Keith Guzah, who is also the party’s Mashonaland West provincial vice-chairman, will represent Zanu(PF).
The Hurungwe West constituency is the toughest poll contest for Zanu (PF) in the 16 by-elections being held across the country on the same day after it and the MDC-T successfully recalled sitting MPs from parliament in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution.
However, Mliswa said he remained confident of winning the seat despite Zanu (PF)’s determination to crush him. He said Zanu PF was dysfunctional, as exposed by the party’s primaries where very few voters participated.
“How can they win when they cannot control their own supporters to participate in a primary election? The party is dysfunctional and the commissariat is dysfunctional,” he said.
Less than 3 200 Zanu PF members participated in the Hurungwe West party primaries which were won by Guzah who garnered slightly over a thousand votes. About 13 000 people voted in the same constituency during the 2013 elections.
Ziyambi however said Mliswa was fooling himself if he believed he would win the seat.
“Mliswa can say anything. He won the last election because of Zanu(PF) and now that he is out, it will be a different ball game,” Ziyambi said.
Political analysts say the Hurungwe by-election was the only litmus test for Zanu(PF) as the established opposition parties (MDC in its various formations) were boycotting the polls, citing the need for electoral reforms.
They argue the present environment favours Zanu (PF). The opposition is demanding a new clean voters’ roll, preferably a biometric one, and an impartial Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and professionalism at public broadcasters who must give all parties equal access to radio and television.