Zapu says it will participate in the forthcoming by-elections despite the stance taken by its opposition allies to boycott the June 10 polls citing an uneven playing field.
BY BENSON DUBE
Fourteen seats are up for grabs after MDC-T fired 21 MPs who crossed to the MDC-Renewal Team led by Sekai Holland.
Five of the vacant seats are in Bulawayo. Tsholotsho North will be the sixth constituency where elections will be held in Matabeleland.
Two more by-elections will be held in Headlands and Hurungwe West after Zanu PF fired incumbent MPs Didymus Mutasa and Temba Mliswa respectively.
Zapu alternate secretary-general Strike Mnkandla said his party was against the election boycott.
The party led by former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa in 2013 had an electoral pact with the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
Mnkandla indicated that Zapu would go it alone this time and expected to contest some seats in Bulawayo.
“We are not boycotting any elections and the party will field candidates in some constituencies,” he said.
“These by-elections came at a short notice when we were in the middle of restructuring and some constituencies are ready while others are not.”
Mnkandla said there was no need for MDC-T to boycott elections since the party contested the 2013 polls under the same conditions.
“There is no need for MDC-T to boycott elections since they participated in the general elections despite the flawed electoral laws,” he said.
“They have MPs that were chosen through the same electoral laws, what has changed now?”
Dabengwa has in the past taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to court demanding copies of the voters’ roll.
Opposition parties say the voters’ roll contains names of dead people and Zanu PF uses the flawed register to rig polls.
MDC-T has already boycotted by-elections in Chirumanzu-Zibagwe and Mt Darwin West.
Only lightweight political parties such as the National Constitutional Assemble (NCA) took part in the polls where their candidates were poorly resourced.
The candidates were duly pummelled by Zanu PF, which deployed high-powered campaign teams in the constituencies.
NCA said it would try its luck again in the 16 by-elections arguing that it does not boycott polls.
NCA spokesperson Madock Chivasa said his party will participate in every election.
“We are participating in every election. We are doing this preparing for 2018 general elections,” Chivasa said.
“We are building a team that would campaign. As a new party we have candidates for all vacant constituencies.
“Whatever comes from the elections we are building a party for the future generation with a different thinking.
“We will be happy with whatever outcome from the elections.” he added.
On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court cleared the way for by-elections after it threw out a case by MDC-Renewal members challenging their dismissal.