By-Zan PF has deployed war veterans and collaborators in Mabvuku to campaign for their candidate, Scott Sakupwanya, during the upcoming by-elections on December 9.
Sakupwanya, an ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, previously contested the seat but lost to Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi from the Citizens Coalitions for Change (CCC) party in the disputed August 23 elections.
Godwills Masimirembwa, the ZANU PF Harare provincial chairperson who is leading the campaign, stated that campaigning is in full swing. He told NewsDay:
We have deployed 1 200 party members who are all over the ground campaigning for our Mabvuku-Tafara candidate Scott.
Everyone has been put on board to campaign for our candidate — central committee members, district members, politburo members, war veterans and collaborators are also part of the campaign team and everyone is free to come and campaign but should follow party protocol.
We as a province are geared to win the constituency. We are doing everything possible to assist our candidate.
War veterans have historically played a significant role in ZANU PF campaigns, often involved in violent attacks against opposition parties. The lead-up to the by-elections has been marred by the kidnapping and murder of a CCC activist, Tapfumaneyi Masaya, who was abducted while campaigning for Kufahakutizwi.
Some ZANU PF activists have expressed concerns about the party’s campaign strategy, but Masimirembwa dismissed their complaints, attributing them to attempts to cause confusion within the party. The campaign team also includes shadowy groups and the youth league, with the involvement of politburo members Charles Tawengwa, Douglas Mahiya, Tendai Chirau, and Andy Mhlanga.
The by-election is taking place because Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi, who won the seat in the previous elections held on August 23-24, 2023, was recalled, allegedly for ceasing to belong to the CCC party. The recall was initiated by Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the interim Secretary-General of the CCC party. However, some officials from the CCC party dispute Tshabangu’s membership and believe that he is being used by ZANU PF as part of their plan to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament. Tshabangu has recalled scores of CCC Parliamentarians and councillors.