BIKITA West Parliamentary aspirant, Elias Musakwa’s third bid to land the seat has been frustrated, after the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial committee (PEC) blocked him from contesting the forthcoming by-election on the party’s ticket over his alleged links to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party.
By Tatenda Chitagu
The Bikita West seat fell vacant when Munyaradzi Kereke was recalled from Parliament last month after he was slapped with an effective 10-year jail term for raping his niece at gunpoint.
Zanu PF provincial commissar, Jeppy Jaboon told Southern Eye on Friday that 10 candidates, including Musakwa, had submitted their CVs seeking clearance to contest the by-election on the ruling party’s ticket.
Jaboon said the executive met and disqualified Musakwa following his alleged links to ZimPF.
“We received 10 applications from people interested in standing in the by-election in Bikita West. Six of the applicants, including Musakwa, had their applications turned down.
“We used the same selection criteria, like the number of years in the party. Musakwa, met all the conditions, but the PEC rejected his application over his links to ZimPF.
“He has been actively participating and sponsoring ZimPF activities in Bikita. Some of his election agents and aspiring councillors in the 2013 polls have also defected to ZimPF,” he said.
The four, who will battle it out in the party primaries are Gibson Mashingaidze, Beauty Chabaya, Joshua Dhewa and Jeffry Murire.
The others, who were turned down are Everson Machaya, Wellington Mutisi, Tichaona Mandebvu, Douglas Makuku and Daniel Makusha.
Musakwa first contested the seat in the 2008 and lost to the then MDC-T’s Heya Shoko. Shoko has since defected to ZimPF.
The former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) employee then slugged it out in the 2013 polls with Kereke, another ex-RBZ employee, who also stood on the party ticket after Zanu PF embarrassingly fielded two candidates in the same constituency.
Musakwa could not be reached for comment over his alleged links to ZimPF or whether he will stand as an independent. But, ZimPF Masvingo provincial spokesperson, Kudzai Mbudzi, disowned him.
“We have never seen him at our party or during our activities. Maybe he is fence-sitting,” he said.