By Anna Chibamu
ZANU PF says it will hold its primaries for the March 26 local council and parliamentary by-elections Thursday, the party national political commissar (NPC) Mike Bimha has confirmed.
The primary elections come barely a month after the ruling party held its divisive and chaotic provincial elections that were marred by violence and massive vote-rigging.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday, Bimha said Zanu PF was ready for the polls and all candidates set to contest in March have submitted their curriculum vitaes (CVs).
“We are holding our primary elections this week on the 20th of January and all necessary processes have been done to allow for smooth primaries,” he said.
According to the party spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa, 119 candidates are vying for 28 vacant parliamentary seats mainly in urban areas.
The seats, fell vacant after the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora recalled scores of rival MDC Alliance MPs and councillors while others are due to deaths. Two seats in Zanu PF fell vacant due to the appointment last year of former Defence Deputy Minister Victor Matemadanda as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Mozambique, and the recall of Chivi West MP, Killer Zivhu.
Matemadanda was the MP for Gokwe Central.
“(At least) 119 members have submitted their CVs. We are happy that there is so much enthusiasm from the party membership.
“We are abiding by the national Constitution, and our party constitution to ensure that members exercise their rights in a democratic way,” Mutsvangwa said.
Harare province has 40 Zanu PF aspiring candidates jostling for 12 parliamentary seats while Mashonaland East province has 23 candidates for three constituencies; Manicaland has six candidates vying for two constituencies whilst Bulawayo has two constituencies with seven candidates for the party.
Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to fire Security Minister Owen Ncube after it emerged he had tried to impose himself as Midlands chairperson.
Zanu PF administration director Dickson Dzora has also been suspended after bungling in the printing of the provincial election ballot papers.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance, which lost many candidates through the recalls, said all aspiring candidates for the by-elections will be selected by the people in respective wards and constituencies.
“We want leaders to be elected by the people and for us to achieve this, people will select those whom they want in local councils and Parliament,” MDC Alliance national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said.