By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent
A CANDIDATE in the upcoming Zanu PF primary election re-run in Zvimba West has withdrawn from the race, a development that has set tongues wagging amid vote-buying fears.
Gifford Gomwe, who came a distant last in the first round of voting recently, curiously withdrew his candidacy Monday ahead of announcement of the re-run date.
He cited the need to back incumbent legislator, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi ‘for the sake of unity and development’.
In a letter of withdrawal seen by NewZimbabwe.com, addressed to the electorate dated April 10, 2023, Gomwe wrote,”RE: Withdrawing From Parliamentary Rerun. I Gifford Gomwe hereby notify you that I have voluntarily withdrawn from the parliamentary re-run election in Zvimba West.
“I have withdrawn in favour of Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi and wish to inform you that I will be spearheading development working with Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi for the good of our constituency. In unity we can do more .
“I am urging everyone who supports development to rally behind Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi as we chart a new trajectory in our beloved constituency, party and country.”
Contacted for comment by NewZimbabwe.com, Gomwe maintained his withdrawal was voluntary and denied being paid to somersault.
“Those are frivolous insinuations. I am a person of own means and have funded developmental projects using my own means.
“It was widely expected that l would rally behind Ziyambi’s other opponent but because l chose to back him, my detractors now allege l received money inorder to withdraw my candidature,” said Gomwe.
A staunch critic of the Cabinet minister prior to the latest volte face, Gomwe admitted engaging Ziyambi following the pair’s defeat at the hands of Mercy Maruva-Dinha, wife to former long-serving Mashonaland Central Governor, Martin Dinha.
Maruva-Dinha polled 4 104 outsmarting Ziyambi who tallied 4 074 while Gomwe scrapped just 619 votes.
Zanu PF Politburo nullified the results following widespread gun violence, among other electoral malpractices.
Hailing from the Gushungo clan, Maruva-Dinha is a favourite ahead of Ziyambi who is rumoured to be from Masvingo and only qualification for candidacy is a family farm in the Zowa area.
Sources who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com at Murombedzi Growth Point confirmed the stage is set for a bruising political fight in Zanu PF Zvimba West primary election re-run expected soon, in which Maruva-Dinha, popularly known as “Mother” is tipped to cause another major upset.
The justice minister’s greatest undoing, according to sources, is his pomposity and aloofness from the electorate that he supposedly serves.
Repeated efforts to get comment from Ziyambi were fruitless.