IN what is seen as evidence that Zanu PF is scared of a possible protest vote by disgruntled party members angry after losing the internal selection process last month Vice President Constantino Chiwenga convened a meeting of losers and winners Tuesday where he read the riot act demanding a united front ahead of general elections expected in a few months’ time.
“We must behave and work together as mature politicians. Let’s support those that won the primaries so that we win the elections resoundingly,” Chiwenga told his audience.
Zanu PF is also split between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction and another linked to former President Robert Mugabe that has already coalesced into an opposition outfit known as the National Patriotic Front.
Mugabe who was forced out of power last November after a military coup has thrown his weight behind the political outfit.
On Tuesday, Chiwenga could not miss the chance to throw a pot-shot at youthful MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.
“We must not behave like one out-of-puberty youth who is going about saying impractical things,” the Vice President said.
Chamisa seems to have re-energised the opposition since taking over following the death of founding President Morgan Tsvangirai in February presenting the possibility of a formidable challenge to President Mnangagwa’s first shot at the country’s top job.
Chiwenga added his voice to Mnangagwa’s call for a free, fair and credible poll.
“We want the region, continent and the whole world to accept our election outcome. So it must be violent free so we show the world that Zimbabwe has come of age and ready to join the family of nations as a democratic nation,” said Chiwenga.
Zanu PF under Mugabe suffered the fate of a protest vote leading to the then ruling party leader losing to Tsvangirai in the first round of voting in March 2008.
However Tsvangirai did not get the required vote threshold to assume power triggering a run off that turned into an orgy of violence before international intervention brokered a unity government.