ZANU PF bigwigs in Bulawayo are reportedly plotting a comeback into active politics by taking advantage of MDC-T’s decision to recall 21 MPs.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
MDC-T last month recalled legislators aligned to MDC-Renewal led by Sekai Holland. President Robert Mugabe set June 10 as the date for by-elections for constituencies that had elected MPs and the rest would be filled through proportional representation.
Constituencies that are now up for grabs in Bulawayo are Lobengula, Mpopoma-Pelandaba, Pumula, Makokoba and Luveve.
The stance by the MDCs to boycott by-elections citing lack of reforms has reportedly excited Zanu PF old horses who are now relishing an easy return to Parliament after over a decade of trying.
Zanu PF has not won a single election in Bulawayo since the formation of the MDC in 1999.
Southern Eye understands several senior leaders in the province submitted CVs ahead of the party’s primary elections to choose the four candidates.
One of the veterans eyeing a comeback is former Education and Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who lost the 2013 primary elections for the Mpopoma-Pelendaba seat to the youthful Joe Tshuma.
Ndlovu, who has made several attempts to wrest the seat he lost to the late Milton Gwetu in 2000, yesterday confirmed that he was interested in running again.
The former minister said his track record spoke for itself as he had done a lot for the constituency.
“I cannot be seen trading insults with youngsters, which will damage my reputation. I have done a lot for the party,” Ndlovu said at the Mpopoma Development Association offices.
“The constituency should return to its rightful leader and that’s me,” Ndlovu added.
The former minister said although Zanu PF was assured of victory in light of the opposition boycott, the party should guard against complacency.
“We should guard against being too confident based on reports that the opposition has indicated it would not participate,” Ndlovu said.
“Remember some time ago they once said so, but later backtracked and contested.”
Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere at the weekend spoke against the imposition of candidates saying the practice had destroyed the party in Bulawayo.
However, acting Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Christopher Dube hinted the party would shield the old guard against the so-called “Young Turks”.
“I am warning all party youths hoping to contest by-elections not to challenge elders during primary elections,” Dube said. “We need experienced people to contest. Their (youths) turn will come.
He said the youths should not be “stressing” party veterans during the primary elections.
“It pains me to see youths distressing their elders. Even I as party provincial chair, cannot challenge Ndlovu,” he said.
“That would signal indiscipline. During our days as Zapu youths we respected elders.”
Dube said the party was confident it would grab all four seats in Bulawayo after years of dismal performances.
“Chances are bright and we must win the seats. Enthusiasm is very high and many people have shown keen interest in representing the party,” he said.
“The opposition is confused and people of Bulawayo have lost confidence in them. It’s Zanu PF time now.”
MDC-Renewal is challenging the expulsion of MPs and the Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that the case was urgent.
The nomination court will sit on April 16 if the MDC-Renewal court challenge fails.