By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent
THE contentious constituency delimitation exercise by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) drastically reduced the ruling party’s support base in Norton, incumbent independent legislator, Temba Mliswa, has claimed.
Following recent Zanu PF primaries, provincial Women’s League chairlady, Constance Shamu won the right to represent the party while in the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (Junior) is expected to sail through nomination and vetting to stand.
As a three-horse race emerges in Norton and indeed other constituencies, deputy chief secretary in the Office of President and Cabinet responsible for Presidential Communications, George Charamba, has insinuated all sitting male legislators contesting against aspiring female candidates, must prepare for exit.
“This year is the year of the girl child. It is our chance to equalise. As such if you are a man and you find yourself standing against a woman, you should begin packing your bag in earnest, @TembaMliswa be warned,” wrote Charamba.
Responding to the post, tough-talking Mliswa said portrayal of Shamu as a formidable opponent was inflating her political capital, and that of the ruling party, which had lost considerable ground as a result of the just-ended ZEC delimitation exercise.
“Hijacked platitudes about the girl child, awkwardly pasted on my female senior, won’t redeem your standing as a party in Norton.
“Zanu PF cannot win there especially now that the two rural wards in which it had a veneer of control are gone due to delimitation,” said Mliswa.
Charamba’s ominous warning also comes in the wake of double humiliation of Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who lost in Zanu PF Zvimba West primaries to Mercy Maruva-Dinha by over 3,000 votes in the weekend rerun.
CCC Norton electorate is expected to endorse Tsvangirai Junior as its sole candidate for the politically volatile constituency as the new political outfit tries to wrestle the seat from Mliswa.
While the incumbent MP owes his incumbency to then MDC Alliance’s benevolence after the opposition opted not to field a candidate, this time around the main opposition CCC is fielding one.
Among those vying for the Norton parliamentary seat, Tsvangirai Junior has been unequivocal of his intention to dislodge Mliswa whom he described as “a deceiver” after failing to lobby for meaningful development in the area.
The 29-year-old budding politician was recently nominated in various wards and is tipped to represent the party in upcoming harmonised elections expected August.
The courageous and promising sibling of the late democracy icon, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (Snr) has expressed his desire to further people-centred principles in Norton, where he resides.
NewZimbabwe.com reached out to Tsvangirai Junior, a businessman and philanthropist, who said Mliswa had worsened the plight of Norton residents and was definitely on his way out.
Turning to his other would-be opponent Shamu, he suggested she retires from active politics due to her advanced age.
“Shamu must just retire, full stop! There is unimaginable support from Norton residents who are backing me to represent the wishes of Norton constituency in the coming Parliament,” he said.
“As a focused youth who has mastered democratic politics, I have decided to be part of the team to emancipate our people 43 years after attaining independence.
“Zimbabweans need to realise their worth as humans and push for development that improves their livelihoods,” said Tsvangirai.
Efforts to get comment from Shamu were fruitless by time of publishing.