THE 2018 election campaign goes into full gear this weekend, with the country’s two main political contenders — Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his MDC Alliance counterpart Nelson Chamisa — lining up star rallies in Manicaland and Midlands provinces, respectively.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Chamisa is expected to roll out a three-day campaign blitz in the Midlands province starting today, while Mnangagwa will officially launch his campaign trail tomorrow, with two rallies in Mutare and Buhera.

Mnangagwa, who is yet to proclaim the election dates, launches his election campaign at a time most provincial structures were fractured following the recent party primary elections.

Zanu PF provincial secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera said Mnangagwa would address “bumper crowds” at Sakubva Stadium and in Buhera, where he would also commission the Marowanyati Dam.

“President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be in Manicaland on Saturday. In the morning, he will tour 3 Brigade Barracks and on that one, I don’t have enough information,’’ he said.

“Later, he will address people at Sakubva Stadium. It’s just a Meet-the-People rally. After that, the President will go to Buhera, where he will commission the Marowanyati Dam and later, address a rally.”

On the other hand, Chamisa’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the youthful party presidential candidate would kick off his Midlands campaign with a rally at Maboleni business centre in Vungu today before proceeding to Tongogara business centre in Shurugwi.

On Saturday, Chamisa who has already held several campaign rallies in various other provinces, will invade Mataga business centre in Mberengwa before completing his blitz in Zvishavane on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chamisa’s other rival and MDC-T’s breakaway faction leader Thokozani Khupe has also lined up a meeting with her supporters at Harare Show Grounds’ Mandela Hall on Saturday.

The Khupe faction’s spokesperson Linda Masarira said the meeting was meant to unpack the party’s manifesto to the provincial leadership.

“It is critically important to note that we are not yet having rallies. We are unpacking the manifesto to our provincial structures province by province that is why the event is dubbed ‘Game on BEST Harare’,” she said.

People’s Rainbow Coalition leader Joice Mujuru also hits the campaign trail this weekend, starting with her home province of Mashonaland Central, where she is also set to launch her election manifesto.