BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
ANNOUNCEMENT of by-election dates by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has triggered rivalry and factionalism within Zanu PF in Mashonaland East province as aspiring candidates are trying to outwit each other ahead of the looming primary elections.
Last week, Mnangagwa told party supporters in Chimanimani, Manicaland province, that by-elections were likely to be held early next year.
The by-elections will fill over 40 parliamentary and more than 80 council seats that were left vacant after the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora recalled representatives affiliated to the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.
The MDC-T has since replaced about 15 proportional representation Members of Parliament.
Some vacant seats were, however, caused by deaths.
In Marondera Central, educationist Cleopas Kundiona is set to lock horns with Lawrence Katsiru and ex-army officer, Richard Mavhunga in the by election.
The seat fell vacant following the recall of MDC Alliance legislator Caston Matewu.
In Marondera East, Zanu PF will see 10 candidates contesting against each other in the primary elections, including two female candidates.
The Marondera East seat fell vacant following the death of Patrick Chidhakwa, who succumbed to heart failure in South Africa.
Another battle is looming in Murewa South constituency, where Noah Mangondo is set to lock horns with Nyasha Masoka, Josphat Tanga and Solo Musaka.
The Murewa South seat fell vacant following the death of Joel Biggie Matiza early this year, who was also Transport minister.
Addressing an inter-district meeting in Marondera last week, acting provincial chairperson Michael Madanha blasted party members who were jostling for positions.
“We know that we have people who follow their preferred candidates. You need to know that at the end of the day, we all belong to Zanu PF and that we support our President (Emmerson Mnangagwa). After the primary elections, we will rally behind the winner and make sure that we win resoundingly,” Madanha said.
Zanu PF is currently mobilising to win back Marondera Central and Goromonzi South constituencies.