Zanu-PF has gone for broke in its bid to win the Mabvuku-Tafara constituency in the December 9 by-elections, roping in war veterans and collaborators to campaign for the party’s candidate, Pedzisai “Scott” Sakupwanya.
Sakupwanya, a Zanu-PF benefactor and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally, is having another go for the seat, having lost to Citizens Coalitions for Change (CCC) member Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi in the disputed August 23 elections.
Kufahakutizwi, who was recalled by self-proclaimed CCC interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu last month, will battle it out with Sakupwanya again in the by-elections.
Sakupwanya has invested heavily ahead of the by-elections, and Zanu-PF Harare provincial chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa yesterday said campaigning was in full swing.
“We have deployed 1 200 party members who are all over the ground campaigning for our Mabvuku-Tafara candidate Scott,” Masimirembwa, who is leading the campaign, said.
“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 previously played a key role in Zanu-PF campaigns, including leading violent attacks against the opposition.
The run-up to the by-elections has been marred by the kidnap and murder of CCC activist, Tapfumaneyi Masaya, who was snatched by unknown persons early this month while campaigning for Kufahakutizwi.
Masimirembwa dismissed complaints from Zanu-PF activists over the party’s campaign strategy.
“People who are complaining want to cause confusion in the party. We don’t want people who want to cause confusion under the pretext that they are campaigning,” he said.
The Zanu-PF Harare chairperson said the campaign team also included Zanu-PF shadowy groups and the youth league.
Politburo members Charles Tawengwa, Douglas Mahiya, Tendai Chirau and Andy Mhlanga are also participating in the campaign.
Tshabangu has been accused of being a Zanu-PF proxy who was bribed to recall CCC legislators to aid the ruling party’s plot to get a two-thirds majority in Parliament via by-elections.
Indications are that Zanu-PF wants a two-thirds majority to be able to amend the Constitution as well as railroad controversial legislation to cement Mnangagwa’s rule.