Fungi Kwaramba 19 June 2018
HARARE – Zanu PF is cracking down on individuals who filed papers as
independent candidates – with some including former Harare province
political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe facing jail while others risk
losing their properties.
This comes as the influential Vice President Constantino Chiwenga recently
warned that the heat would be turned on Mashayamombe – who is eying Harare
South constituency on the MDC Alliance slate in the forthcoming elections
scheduled for July 30.
Mashayamombe almost failed to submit his nomination papers on Thursday
last week after he was arrested over charges of political violence he
allegedly committed in 2014.
“There is a lot of intimidation, I was picked on charges emanating from
2014 on the nomination day but they found nothing against me so they said
they would proceed by way of summons that is why I submitted my papers
late. There is a lot of intimidation, people receiving calls and some
being told that they would lose their properties if they associate with
me,” Mashayamombe said yesterday.
Another independent candidate, Elliot Piki, who is eying the same seat –
said he chose to stand solo because “the winning candidate Tongai
Mnangagwa was imposed”.
He said there have been attempts to hound him out from a farmhouse he is
currently occupying but he is unfazed.
“I am going solo, targeting Harare South, until they fire me I will always
be Zanu PF, they decided to impose someone and the people chose me so I am
here now. I fear nobody and I will not be susceptible to victimisation, I
am ready for them. I am going to win the elections, I have been here since
2000, working for the people, my candidature is coming from the people.
“The president said no to imposition of candidates. I don’t think it is
illegal for a person to choose a president of his choice and I will put
the face of the president on my posters,” said Piki.
In Mutare North, Batsirai Pemhenayi – who controversially lost the ruling
party primary elections to Zanu PF provincial chairperson Mike Madiro amid
allegations of massive vote rigging, said he has been inundated with calls
from senior party officials telling him to step aside or face the music.
“I am standing for the people of Mutare North, they said there was no
primary election and so this affords them to have the primary election
that they did not have.
“In my constituency we are going to vote for…Mnangagwa but for the
councillors and MP they are saying they will make their choice,” said
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya
Moyo were fruitless while the party’s political commissar Englebert Rugeje
had referred questions to the party’s spokesperson.
However, Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa have already warned the
rebels that they could face the consequences.
Addressing a Zanu PF rally in Harare South last week, Chiwenga hinted that
those who would dare cross the party’s line might end up in prison.
“The likes of (Shadreck) Mashayamombe should know that we will leave no
stone unturned. There are no sacred cows. For now we are focusing on
developing the country and doing our elections in a peaceful manner. We do
not have time to chase them but we know he and other land barons caused a
lot of suffering to the people.
“The police will act and they will be sent to prison. Government has
instituted a land audit committee to investigate cases of housing stands
disputes and the scourge of land barons and appropriate action will be
taken once that committee produces its report. People will be arrested
because you can’t just dupe others and get away with it,” said Chiwenga.
Prospects of a “bhora musango” are not only haunting the ruling party but
also the opposition which has seen an unprecedented number of former
legislators going on to stand as independent candidates.
Political analysts told the Daily News last week that the advent of
independent candidates points to decaying democracy and imposition of
people in both Zanu PF and the MDC.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said while Zanu PF has also been
affected by the independent candidates’ phenomenon, it is the MDC which
will be counting its losses after the elections.
“This is an interesting but unsurprising to some of us who have always
said lack of internal democracy in both Zanu PF and MDC will breed
independent candidates. This disadvantages MDC Alliance more than Zanu PF.
Zanu PF will rig and win.
“But MDC Alliance’s threats of no reforms, no elections become hot air and
child’s play when they are facing rebellion from their party for rigged
and `unreformed’ primary elections.
“Also MDC Alliance can pull out of poll but the other 127 parties,
independent candidates, 22 presidential candidates will participate in the
“This reduces and isolates the MDC Alliance as an undemocratic party
fighting for democratic national elections yet can’t hold its primaries
democratically. It reduces them to confused political cry-babies,” said
With only a couple of days remaining before candidates who submitted their
nomination papers can withdraw, respected political analyst Eldred
Masunungure said both Zanu PF and MDC will suffer as there will be an
erosion of their support base.
“This reflects very much to the amount of dissatisfaction in both parties,
it reflects poorly inside democracy in the two parties and it is going to
have negative consequences on the parties, the number of independent
candidates suggests that there will be some erosion of support for the two
parties in some cases it could be critical because the party might lose
because the independent candidates could split the vote, it is a part of a
bhora musango in both parties,” said Masunungure.
But according to the University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer the
bhora musango scenario will affect the two main parties in equal measure.
“I don’t think any of the parties would be affected on a large scale but
in the strongholds of the two parties the independent candidates would not
have much bearing but will be affected in areas where their support is
marginal,” said Masunungure.