BY KENNETH NYANGANI/JAIROS SAUNYAMA
ZANU PF secretary for external affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said that the ruling party will use the upcoming by-elections as a benchmark to gauge its strength in urban areas, which are seen as opposition strongholds.
By-elections will be held on March 26 to fill parliamentary and local authority vacancies caused by the recall of MPs and councillors affiliated to the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, the death of MPs and promotion of others to ambassadorial posts.
Mumbengegwi made the remarks in Mutare during a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting at the weekend, where he was sent by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to douse factional fights in the province.
“As you are aware, our President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the date for the by-elections, and these seats are in the hands of the opposition and also in the local municipality. We need to win all these seats and wards and gauge our chances to fight the opposition in the urban councils in 2023,” he said.
“If we win in the by-elections in March, we will send the opposition in panic mode, and we will make a clean sweep in the 2023 elections, this is just a
Mumbengegwi then challenged the youths to ensure that they play a bigger role in canvassing for support for the ruling party in the 2023 election campaign in order to achieve the targeted five million votes.
“In 2023, we are banking mostly on you youths — both men and women, as you constitute the largest number of our population,” he said.
He also said some candidates that lost in the recently held provincial elections failed to provide evidence for their vote-rigging claims.
“We have people who lost the elections that claimed that they were rigged. They failed to support their claims with evidence. In an election, a lot of things happen, but there is no winner and there is no loser. Zanu PF is the only winner,” he said.
In Manicaland, there are two vacant parliamentary seats for the Dangamvura/Chikanga and Mutasa South constituencies.
Meanwhile, in Mashonaland East province, ministers landed the top Zanu PF provincial posts after allocation of slots.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona got the provincial secretary for administration portfolio, while Youth deputy minister Tinoda Machakaire is the new provincial political commissar.
Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza landed the secretary for information and publicity post in the women’s league.
National Housing minister Daniel Garwe is the provincial chairperson, while Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengwi is the women’s league boss.
Garwe told party officials at the weekend PCC meeting that it was time to get out of election mode so that the party could unite and work together.