Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi Moyo yesterday threatened Zanu PF members in Nkulumane constituency with unspecified action if they do not vote for the party’s candidate in Saturday’s by-elections.
by Nqobile Bhebhe
The by-elections are ward-based and observers say this makes it easy for political parties to know the voting patterns.
The system is in line with the alignment of electoral laws to the country’s Constitution before putting the system into full use in the 2018 elections.
Nkulumane constituency fell vacant following the death of MDC T’s Thamsanqa Mahlangu.
Zanu PF is fielding Killian Sibanda Nyathi, who is battling with Sibusisiwe Mpofu of the Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe and Ngwalo Nyathi of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe.
Speaking at a campaign rally at Mandwandwe Primary School, Sandi Moyo said they would vigilantly monitor voting patterns.
She said they were aware that some party members were plotting to vote for independent candidates due to factional battles.
“District chairpersons, we are aware that some people want to vote in what direction. So with ward-based elections, we will be monitoring the trends. So, district chairpersons, ensure that people in your districts go out in numbers to vote for Killian,” Sandi Moyo said.
“Failure to that, you will have to explain, in case people don’t turn up. So be warned because we shall be watching each one of you.”
Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere vowed to reclaim the seat and declared Nkulumane a Zanu PF territory.
“The party is back in Bulawayo. President (Robert) Mugabe is back in Bulawayo. The party is stronger in Bulawayo,” he said.
“We must take back everything in Bulawayo. Nkulumane will be different in 15 years. It’s no longer a dream, but a reality. You will make it possible.”
Kasukuwere conceded that primary elections were divisive, but members should bury their differences and ensure victory.
A victory in Nkulumane would effectively put Zanu PF on an equal footing with the MDC-T, whose Bulawayo National Assembly seats would be whittled down to six.
During the Zanu PF rally, Kasukuwere said he had brought a gift from Mugabe in the form of maize, but by lunch time, the consignment had not yet arrived.
The MDCs and Zapu are boycotting the elections, citing lack of electoral reforms to guarantee free and fair voting.
Zanu PF had previously struggled to make inroads into Bulawayo, an MDC-T stronghold since the party’s formation in 1999.