Nduduzo Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau
ZANU-PF Second Secretary and Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa has stepped in and declared Cde Terrance Mukupe the party’s legitimate candidate for the Harare East by-election slated for June 10, ending weeks of confusion.
Cde Mukupe and Cde Mavis Gumbo, whom he defeated in Zanu-PF primaries, both successfully filed their nomination papers as the revolutionary party’s candidates, causing serious confusion in the party.
But sources last night said Cde Mnangagwa, who is also the party’s national chairman, had communicated the party position to both candidates.
Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya-Moyo last night said a statement on the Harare East debacle would be issued today.
But a senior party source said: “The party has ruled that Cde Mukupe won an open and transparent primary election, and that Cde Gumbo lost that primary election. She could have challenged Cde Mukupe’s victory using the party’s well-established appeals processes but she neglected to do so. It was really an easy decision.”
Cde Mukupe was cleared to stand for the party by the national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, while Cde Gumbo’s papers were okayed by the secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo.
Zanu-PF’s Harare provincial executive refused to support Cde Mukupe, a banker who has previously lived in the United States, claiming he was a relatively newcomer to the party who did not meet a five-year continuous membership rule.
The Zanu-PF decision will blow wind in Cde Kasukuwere’s sails after he came under siege from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association which accused him of backing Cde Mukupe over a war veteran, Cde Gumbo.
In a statement, the war veterans’ secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, this week appeared to accuse Cde Kasukuwere and other party leaders including Politburo member Cde Patrick Zhuwao — who was critical of Cde Chombo — of a bizarre plot to remove President Mugabe from power through “an unholy alliance that is forming between the Americans and the British on the one hand, and some politburo members on the other.”
Cde Gumbo, who was yesterday busy canvassing for support in Harare East where she doled out food hampers to women in Caledonia, has been told to withdraw her nomination papers if she is to maintain her party membership.
The by-election was precipitated by a decision by the MDC-T to recall its MP, Tendai Biti, after he left to form MDC Renewal. All the MDC factions have, however, boycotted the Harare East by-election and 13 others taking place on the same day claiming conditions are not conducive for the holding of free-and-fair elections.
The MDC-T has, however, effectively participated in the by-elections by forwarding seven names to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to fill vacancies in the Senate and National Assembly which were won through proportional representation in the July 2013 general elections.
In the Government Gazette, yesterday, the MDC-T nominated four people for the Senate and three others for the National Assembly.
The party’s treasurer-general Theresa Maonei Makone, Anna Chimanikire, David Antony Chimhini and Beki Sibanda were seconded to the Senate while Susan Matsunga, Nomvula Mguni and Machirarirwa Mugidho were nominated for the National Assembly.