The ruling Zanu PF has began to strategise for the 2018 polls, with the party’s political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, saying the January 21, Bikita West by-election will be a rehearsal that will gauge the party’s readiness for the upcoming national poll, where a possible coalition of opposition parties may seek to unseat President Robert Mugabe, […]
Source: Bikita West, dry run for 2018 polls: Zanu PF – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 6, 2017
By Tatenda Chitagu
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a rally for the ruling party’s Bikita West parliamentary by-election candidate, Beauty Chabaya, at Nyika Business Centre on Wednesday, Kasukuwere said the constituency, which he admitted was a problem for Zanu PF, as it was once in the hands of MDC-T, will be a yardstick for the ruling party ahead of the 2018 polls.
“I told our candidate that this is a dry-run for the party, we are testing you for the 2018 polls. This constituency had problems before The party is also using this by-election as a gauge for 2018,” he said.
Five other candidates — Zimbabwe People First’s Kudakwashe Gopo, Madock Chivasa (National Constitutional Assembly), Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Tanyaradzwa Makumbo and two independents, Heya Shoko and Innocent Muzvimbiri — will contest in the by-election slated for January 21.
The by-election comes after the incarceration of former Zanu PF legislator for the constituency, Munyaradzi Kereke, for raping a minor at gunpoint.
“We want to win with a thud. We need ward-for-ward, centre-for-centre voting. The party must win. Zanu PF will not lose, look at the people present at this rally, but Chabaya should not relax, she should play her part, do her work and campaign,” Kasukuwere said.
Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was invited to canvass support for Chabaya, urged party candidates, who lost in the primaries to support her candidature.
“There were many, who wanted to stand on the party ticket here, but she emerged the candidate. Those that did not vote for her in the primaries should vote for her come January 21, if they are genuine Zanu PF members. Yes, you will be rallying behind Chabaya, but the paramount issue is that you will be supporting the President and the party,” he said.
Mnangagwa urged Zanu PF members to register to vote in the 2018 polls.
“I am happy with the crowd here, but you should be a registered voter,” he said.
Mnangagwa urged village heads to canvass support for Zanu PF.
“You should know those that are Zanu PF members or not, so that you will inform the chiefs who will see what to do,” he said.
Kasukuwere said they will return for another final rally in the constituency on January 18.