Bikita poll vital for opposition: Mujuru

Source: Bikita poll vital for opposition: Mujuru – DailyNews Live 16 January 2017

Blessings Mashaya

HARARE – Former vice president and now leader of the Zimbabwe People First
(ZPF) party, Joice Mujuru, says this week’s by-election will go a long way
in assuring long-suffering Zimbabweans that their future lies with the

Mujuru’s fledgling party will be participating in its first elections
since it was launched last year, with political analysts saying Saturday’s
Bikita West mini-poll will provide a litmus test for President Robert
Mugabe’s former long-serving deputy.

The ZPF will be represented in the by-election by Kudakwashe Gopo.

Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro told the Daily News yesterday that the
by-election was significant not only to ZPF, but all opposition parties as
the Bikita West seat would indicate how the mooted grand coalition was
likely to perform in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

“As People First this week is very significant to all Zimbabweans. The
election is going to demonstrate that People First is a party of choice.

“This is the best chance to show to the world that together as opposition
parties we stand, and divided we fall. This election is going to be
historic because it’s going to show that opposition parties have the
capacity of working together to defeat Mugabe.

“It’s also going to be a D-day for Zanu PF as no amount of violence will
stop the opposition parties from uniting against Mugabe,” Nyandoro said.

Mujuru has been trying to enlist the participation of opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in her party’s campaigns, as it bids to take control of
the Bikita parliamentary seat, which fell vacant after Munyaradzi Kereke
was incarcerated for 14 years for the rape of a minor last year.

Mujuru, who was ruthlessly purged from the warring Zanu PF in late 2014,
together with her close allies who included liberation stalwarts such as
Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa – on untested claims of plotting to oust
and assassinate Mugabe – is working with Tsvangirai and other smaller
parties on a grand coalition which they say will be in place before the
end of the year.

Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with
one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule – especially at this
time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail
nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.

Last week, Mujuru was dealt a heavy blow when her Bikita West rally was
cancelled to allow Zanu PF to hold its own gathering which is set to be
addressed by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.

This was despite the fact that ZPF had notified the police of its
intention to hold the rally there earlier, almost a month ago.

Already, tension is high in the volatile constituency which historically,
is a hotbed of political violence.

Recently, sickly Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa
threatened to unleash violence in the constituency against all opposition

She told ruling party supporters who gathered for the campaign rally at
Gwindingwi Primary School early this month to vote “wisely” or else suffer
the consequences.

“Haa, munozviziva, muno hamusi mekutamba namo (You all know it. This is
not a constituency to play silly games). Kune vamwe vakatsakatika muno umu
gore riya, munoriziva. Handei tinovhota zvakanaka. (There are some who
disappeared in this constituency as you know. Let us go and vote wisely),”
she bellowed ominously.