Former Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Mr Didymus Mutasa yesterday failed in his bid to masquerade as a Zanu-PF candidate in the Headlands parliamentary by-election set for June 10 after the Nomination Court sitting in Mutare rejected his papers.The seat fell vacant after Mr Mutasa was recalled from Parliament following his expulsion from Zanu-PF, which then wrote to the august House disowning him.
Mr Mutasa’s nephew Mr Temba Mliswa, who suffered a similar fate for being part of the Mujuru putschist cabal that was working to undermine and/or depose President Mugabe, successfully filed his papers at the Nomination Court for the Hurungwe West by-election in Chinhoyi yesterday after he approached the court as an independent.
No candidate from all the MDC formations filed papers to contest in the two by-elections.
Mr Mutasa, through his election agent Ms Sabena Ranganai Chiteme, was the first to present papers at the Nomination Court just after midday.
News soon spread that he had filed his papers purportedly on a Zanu-PF ticket and the party’s provincial executive led by acting chairman Dr Samuel Undenge objected to the Nomination Court stating that Mr Mutasa was expelled and had not been sanctioned to stand on the party’s behalf.
Mutare’s top lawyer and the party’s secretary for legal affairs Cde Misheck Mugadza filed the objection papers stating that it was wrong for Mr Mutasa to file his papers using Zanu-PF’s name.
“The Zanu-PF party objects to the submission of nomination papers under the party name and symbol of Zanu-PF by Didymus Noel Mutasa as he was dismissed from the party and therefore ceased to be a member of the party from the date of such expulsion,” read the objection papers.
“Whereof it is prayed that his nomination papers be rejected by the Honourable Court (See Section 46 (10) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13).”
At the close of the Nomination Court, Manicaland elections officer Mr Moffat Masabeya rejected Mr Mutasa’s papers, saying he was not being sponsored by Zanu-PF, the party he had indicated in his papers.
Contacted for comment, Mr Mutasa refused to discuss his disqualification with The Herald.
“I have always told you that I do not talk to The Herald because you do not report on me favourably,” he said.
Efforts by journalists and the Zanu-PF provincial executive to get information on who had signed Mr Mutasa’s papers authorising him to represent the party were fruitless amid reports he may have signed the papers himself given his penchant for masquerading as the Zanu-PF secretary for Administration, the last post he held in the party before his expulsion.
Mr Masabeya said he was not at liberty to divulge such information as it was confidential.
The Zanu-PF candidate Cde Christopher Chingosho successfully filed his papers to contest the by-election together with Mr David Mukunda of the National Constitutional Assembly and an independent, Mr Albert Mukaratirwa.
In Chinhoyi, Zanu-PF’s Cde Keith Guzah successfully filed papers to stand in the Hurungwe West by-election in a two-horse race against Mr Mliswa.
Soon after filing his papers, Mr Mliswa declared that he was still a member of Zanu-PF who would one day bounce back into the fold.
He said he was not the first person to be expelled from Zanu-PF.
Presiding officer Mr Kenneth Kwaramba declared Cde Guzah and Mr Mliswa duly nominated at the close of business.
“Keith Never Guzah of Zanu-PF party and Temba Peter Mliswa an independent candidate are the only candidates who filed their papers, so there will be an election in Hurungwe West constituency on June 10 in terms of the Electoral Act Section 213 (46)(17)(c) as read with Proclamation 3 of 2015,” said Mr Kwaramba.
Cde Guzah said it was an honour to represent Zanu-PF and the people of Hurungwe West.
“It is an honour to represent Zanu-PF which brought the revolution,” he said. “As a party, we will win hands down. It’s not about me as an individual. People voted for Mliswa because of the party. The party is supreme to the individual.”
Sources said former Zanu-PF youth leader for Harare province Jimu Kunaka was in attendance at court in solidarity with Mr Mliswa as both are said to be part of the Mujuru putschist cabal that sought to oust President Mugabe.